Baking is a delicate balance of science, craft and intuition. The bun, arguably one of the simplest baked products, can be particularly demanding. With such a simple product, every flaw in shape, color and texture becomes readily apparent.
Frozen pastries present even more of a challenge. They’re excellent when freshly made, but freezing naturally leads to degradation of quality.
Perfecting the bun and frozen pasty won’t be easy, but a good bakery ingredients supplier and the following techniques will help.
Perfecting the Bun
Of course, you want perfectly shaped buns every time. Even if your irregularly shaped buns taste just as good as your regularly shaped buns, you still shouldn’t sell them (at least not under your brand). They won’t create or leave a good impression.
Other problems with buns include uneven baking, surface wrinkling, too pale or too dark of a color, and blisters. In this section, you will learn how to resolve these most common bun-baking problems.
1. Irregularly Shaped Buns
Irregularly shaped buns typically result from using dough that is too sticky. The solution is often straightforward: Adjust your recipe’s water content. Specifically, reduce the water in your recipe until your dough attains the right amount of stickiness.
Should you still do this if the recipe is working well for other bakers? Yes. For instance, your recipe might have been developed by a baker in a high-altitude location. Since water at higher elevations boils at a lower temperature, it’s natural to add more water to prevent the dough from drying.
Aside from adjusting your recipe’s water content, you may also make the following process adjustments:
- Reduce the floor time.
- Adjust the weight control.
- Lower the dough temperature.
- Allow the pans to cool down properly.
2. Clam Bun Shell
If you’re having clam bun shell issues, you must adjust your recipe and process.
First, reduce your recipe’s scaling weight. Next, you should try to provide more humidity and heat. Experiment with the following process adjustments until you achieve the perfect bun shape:
- Increase the humidity available on the dough surface.
- Accurately set and maintain lateral heat.
- Increase your default proofing temperature.
- Increase your default proofing humidity.
3. Poor Pan Flow
If your bun is exhibiting poor pan flow and not filling the baking pan, your dough structure may be too firm, or you may not be giving your dough sufficient mixing and fermenting times. To resolve this, you can make three types of changes.
Try experimenting with the following adjustments until you find the optimal combination of changes that leads to excellent plan flow.
First, adjust your recipe by doing one or all of the following:
- Increase the water content.
- Increase the amount of your fermented dough sponge.
- Increase your scaling weight.
Second, you can add ingredients like protease or L-cysteine. These work because:
- Protease weakens the gluten network, softening the structure, improving pan flow and increasing tenderness.
- L-cysteine is a dough-conditioning amino acid. It softens the gluten, relaxes the dough and improves pan flow.
Third, you can implement the following process changes:
- Prolong the mixing and proofing times.
- Increase the proofing temperature.
4. Cupping After Slicing
If your buns are cupping after slicing, try the following:
- Experiment with your bread improver makeup.
- Cool your buns for longer.
- Cool your buns in an area with minimal airflow and convection.
- Reduce the slicer pressure.
5. Dark Crust Colour
A bun that is too dark probably has too much sugar or milk. Try reducing the amount of milk, sugar or both in your recipe.
You may also try to reduce the amount of amylolytic enzymes in your product. Amylases improve shelf life and help break down starch, improving fermentation. However, they also enhance Maillard browning and caramelization, contributing to a darker crust color.
Process-wise, you can also make the following changes:
- Prolong fermentation.
- Lower the oven temperature.
- Shorten the baking duration.
- Give it a longer sponge time.
6. Light Crust Color
If the crust color is lighter than ideal, reverse the above recommendations. Add more milk, sugar or both to your recipe. You may also use more amylases.
Additionally, you can do the following:
- Shorten the fermentation and sponge times.
- Increase the baking temperature.
- Bake the buns for longer.
7. Uneven Baking
If the buns are not evenly baked, there can be a problem with your oven. Check if your oven belt is even and fully loaded. You should also get a technician to check your oven’s fans and heaters to ensure even heating.
8. Surface Wrinkling
Are the surfaces wrinkled instead of smooth? You can try doing the following:
- Shorten the fermentation time.
- Shorten the mixing time.
- Decrease the humidity.
Additionally, you can reduce the amount of:
- Oxidizing agents
- The popular emulsifier diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (i.e., DATEM)
- Sodium stearoyl lactylate (SSL)
Oxidizing agents improve mixing. DATEM is an emulsifier that strengthens dough structure, encouraging expansion. SSL is an alternative emulsifying agent that, like DATEM, also leads to more volume in the dough. Reducing these ingredients can lessen the likelihood of surface wrinkling.
If your buns are blistering, you can increase the amount of DATEM or SSL to improve expansion and volume. You can also adjust your recipe. Experiment with:
- Reducing the amount of yeast
- Using a higher-protein flour
- Using less water
Additionally, you can make one or more of the following process changes:
- Cut the proofing time.
- Lower the proofing temperature.
- Increase the mixing time.
Perfecting the Frozen Pastry
Consumers adore the convenience of having frozen croissants at home, ready to heat and pair with single-origin coffee or other delectable beverage. However, they expect the same taste and flakiness from frozen croissants as freshly baked pastries bought and consumed in-store.
Thus, manufacturing frozen croissants, Danishes, and pain au chocolat can be extremely challenging. Quality control is a problem. While frozen, the dough becomes slack as ice crystals form, damaging the gluten structure. The dead yeast cells also release glutathione, a reducing agent that decreases dough elasticity.
Improving Frozen Pastry Products
To enhance the quality of your frozen pastries, you can try the following:
- Use a high-protein or strong flour.
- Improve flour with ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is a treatment agent that can strengthen the gluten network of the dough.
- Add a stabilizing agent to minimize ice crystal development.
- Add DATEM, SSL or other emulsifiers and enzymes that can strengthen the gluten network of the dough, enhancing its ability to hold gas while frozen.
There are even all-in-one ingredients that combine ascorbic acid, stabilizing agents and dough-strengthening emulsifiers and enzymes. These can be added to improve the quality of non-proofed, no-thaw, home-baked frozen pastries.
Master the Bun and the Frozen Pastry
Achieving commercially successful baked products requires dedicated research and testing. Use the solutions suggested above to create your perfect recipe and processes for buns and frozen pastries.