The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greetings from California, new user

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GabrielLeung1's picture

Greetings from California, new user

I've been lurking these forums for years, but have only recently created an account.

As a molecular biologist attempting to enter the bakery and food service industry, this site has been very useful in introducing to me the scientific basis behind all types of bread.

I hope to learn much from you all!

-- Gabriel 


Janknitz's picture

There's a lot here to learn!

I have a 10th grade daughter interested in science.  She likes to watch CSI.  Her dad and I are trying to let her know that there is a whole world of science careers out there, not just the crime scene investigation type of work.  So I'll be interested to hear of your adventures in food science.  

GabrielLeung1's picture

Absolutely! There are definitely many careers. My original intention was to enter a research lab and work for a few years before entering graduate school and pursuing a PhD. But here I am on this bread forum aspiring to culinary school.

Agriculture, biomedical research, and medicine are a few of the main "super tracks" that can be followed with a degree in molecular biology. It really depends on what type of ideas are interesting to her.

Food science is an especially interesting field to me, and so here I am!

brynbryn's picture

I'm also a molecular biologist! I'll be graduating soon w/ a degree in biology and working as a research assistant next year.  I think one of the reasons I like cooking/baking is that it's kinda similar to molecular biology in some ways - you have a recipe (protocol) that should produce a certain result, but may or may not actually turn out how it's supposed to...and there are tips and tricks you can try to make things work out how they are supposed to...

GabrielLeung1's picture

I'm in exactly the same boat. I'll be graduating in a month or so (however I've been working for about 18 months now) and thats exactly how I see cooking and baking. Although personally I went into the lab and saw that it was remarkably similar to cooking.

You work to gradually improve and improve on whatever theory or procedure that interests you either in baking or in science.

JoeV's picture

The primary tool required to guarantee repeatability in bread baking is a kitchen scale. Volumetric measurement of ingredients have too many variables to guarantee repeatability. The kitchen is a lab of sorts. When I am modifying a recipe, I make notes on the original recipe (protocol) so I know what has been altered. If I like the results of the experiment, I give it a new name and write a recipe accordingly.

Oh, never trust a measuring cup for liquid measurement. I have had them to be off by as much as 3/4 ounce. I weigh all of my liquids as well as dry ingredients.


lakelly's picture

I have a BS in biochem but went on to become a Pharmacist. I find that bread baking fulfills that desire for experimentation that I am missing from my days in the lab. I have also started sort of a "lab notebook" where I record any deviations from the original recipe and any observations I make along the way (as I type that I realize I sound like a total dork).

pmccool's picture


In this group, you sound like a baker aspiring to improve his/her craft, not like a dork.  Keep taking those notes!  ;-)


flournwater's picture

I agree, lakelly; keep makin' them notes.  ;-}

Make sure your notes include visual experiences.  You can't quantify what the dough should look like or feel like at various stages, that takes experience.  It is also true that your idea of a "shiney" surface may not be identical to someone elses; same goes for "shaggy" dough and the difference between stickey and tackey can be subtle at times.  Best of luck  ...

Gotta go back to the kitchen now.  The Ciabatta and Greek Celebration Bread should be ready for the oven.