Tuesday, December 03, 2013

No mixer, no problem

Last Saturday I catered a banquet for the San Jose Youth Shakespeare in the Bay Area. With an ambitious menu at hand, I began meal production with rosemary-garlic dinner rolls at 12:30 in the afternoon. After unloading the equipment, food and supplies into the kitchen, I setup the scale, opened the bag of bread flour and began measuring.

With over 20 pounds of flour, along with yeast, salt, sugar, egg, oil, herbs and water to mix, I'd normally knead the dough in a 20-quart stand mixer. However, the kitchen at the rental hall was not equipped with one. With a large bus tub, I mixed the dough by hand. The pictures tell the rest of the story.

All in ingredients were weighed into a 20 by 15 by 7-inch bus tub. The formula called for 100% bread flour, 6% sugar, 4% chopped fresh parsley, 4% minced garlic, 2% instant yeast, 2 % kosher salt and 1% dried rosemary for the dry ingredients. I used 20 pounds 5 ounces flours as the basis for the dough. Click here for a discussion on baker's percent.

After pouring in about 55% water, 16% egg and 8% olive oil, I mixed the dough by hand. It took several minutes for the dough to come together.

After the dry ingredients were thoroughly mixed into the wet, I cleaned my hands and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. This lets the flour begin to absorb moisture and hydrate.

I started others on separate projects before working on the dough. My niece learned how to dice 10 pounds of yellow onions as another (to my right) set up the buffet area. As the dough came together, I folded the corners into the center of the bus tub. And two gallons of apple cider reduced on the range behind me.

Once the dough was workable, I turned it out onto the bench and continued kneading.

I could only fold the dough 10 to 15 turns before it was too stiff to handle. I gave the dough a 10 to 15-minute rest between kneading sessions. I then divided the dough in half and set each piece in a bus tub to ferment.

Once the dough fermented 90 minutes in an out-of-the-way corner of the kitchen, it was all hands on deck to cut and mold individual rolls. This process took around 30 minutes. We produced 455 rolls Saturday. The diners ate 2 rolls each on average.