By Robert Fisher, eHow Contributor

The smell of freshly baked bread and fried doughnuts can entice even the most dedicated nutritionist to step into a bakery. The tempting treats in the display case are the product of a four-step process: proper mixing (and kneading), scaling, proofing and baking done by specialized equipment. Although doughnuts and bread may require different procedures, the same standard equipment is found in most commercial bakeries.

Mixing and Kneading
A floor-mounted dough mixer takes the place of the hand-mixing of ingredients and kneading of dough, greatly speeding up the process and allowing the baker to multitask. Mixers range in size from 10 quarts to more than 400 pounds of dough, so knowing desired production levels will help to determine appropriate size. Features to consider on a mixer are the number of mixing speeds and password protection.

A baker cuts and scales on a baker's table, known as a bench. Benches are made of either stainless steel or wood. Scaling dough involves a variety of small wares including spoons, bowl scrapers and ice cream scoops as well as dough cutters designed to slice through dough without damaging the bench.


After scaling, a baker puts the dough in a humidified food cabinet, known as a proofer. Using a proofer allows the baker to control the temperature, humidity and the time it will take for the dough to rise, or proof. A heating element--below a small water reservoir at the bottom of the unit--creates steam for proofing.

Bakeries may use a wood, electric or gas-fired oven. Stationary gas-fired ovens are the largest of the three and typically use wheeled baking sheet racks. Most commercial electric convection ovens are mobile. A baker can determine the appropriate size for an oven by considering the baking-sheet capacity of the oven and the bakery's layout and size.

Operational safety is a primary concern with bakery equipment. The location of kill switches, safety bars and locks vary on different makes.
The ability to easily break down equipment components for cleaning will help the equipment last longer and the bakery comply with health department standards.
The cheapest equipment is not always the most economical. As pastry chef Nick Malgieri points out in his book "The Modern Baker," quality equipment can last a lifetime.

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