The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

IBIE - Wednesday

proth5's picture

IBIE - Wednesday

 8:30 AM - a full hall to listen to Ciril Hitz talk about laminated pastries and brioche.

Even the professional's heads were reeling with the amount of information Mr. Hitz can pack into a lecture.  We were given a CD with links to Youtube instead of the traditional paper sheets.  There was just that much material...

There were, however, some points that were both useful to home bakers and quite memorable.  Mr. Hitz spent some time talking about mixers for making bread dough in general and sweet doughs in particular.  He is a big proponent of the professional needing both a spiral and a planetary mixer.  He described the action of the spiral mixer as a trip to the massage parlor (it's Las Vegas...) - your back is rubbed with long strokes and eventually feels just right - the muscles have been worked.  A planetary mixer, he opined, was more like a bar brawl.  One person throws the other against a wall and eventually the muscles are worked, but in a much more violent way.  I've never quite heard it put that way before.  It will take some time for me to get that image out of my head.

Continuing on he said that the most important thing to evaluate when choosing a planetary mixer is the tolerance between the dough hook and the bowl.  If it is tight, the dough will pick up well and mix cleanly.  If it is loose, the dough will ball on the hook and make trouble.  This is certainly something I have seen with my faithful KitchenAid (which will soon be supplemented with a spiral) where the hook clears the bowl by several inches.  But the spiral really is a "one trick pony" - it exists to mix dough.  It does not cream or whip, so for someone working pastries, the planetary mixer will still be required.  For home baking, Mr. Hitz likes the Viking (now, don't everyone rush out to buy it - although independently I have heard good reviews on this mixer) he feels that with it he can develop dough 25% faster than with a KitchenAid.

He also weighed in on the great fresh vs. instant yeast debate  For all of his baking, especially at Johnson and Wales, he has transitioned all of his formulas to instant yeast.  He claims that he can find no degradation in the finished product.  He uses a conversion factor of .4 for fresh to instant rather than the more traditional .33 (and I am still too sensitive on the subject to report what he said about yeast and salt during mixing.)  Please, let's not open that debate, I just thought it would be interesting to report this, because he is a picky man with strong opinions.

He also describes osmotolerant yeast as "the way to go" for any sweet doughs.  He feels it lasts up to six months in the refrigerator (hardly "forever") once the package is opened. 

As he was showing us pictures of over fermented pre ferments, someone asked about making use of those.  The distinguished bakers who gave us the lectures on pre ferments had indicated that they could be used - with some product degradation - at a lesser percentage of the total flour.  Mr Hitz expressed agreement, (especially about the product degradation) but told us that when his students allow the pre ferment to get over ripe, he makes them use all of it because next time they will pay better attention to what they are doing.

I write 'em like I hear 'em.

A class with Mr. Hitz is not really a logical linear progression.  It is a kind of Mr. Toad's Wld Ride - high energy with bits of learning on the way.  So we are now reduced to some great quips and quotes.

On proper gluten development: "There is nothing that beats time and controlling dough temperature in a proper development."

On butter: "I cannot emphasize enough that the butter used in lamination must be at least 83% fat content."  Any other butter must have a drying agent (flour) added to avoid it cracking apart in the lamination process.

And my favorite: "My theory is, if you don't have a sheeter - don't laminate." (Ok, no throwing of hard objects - he was talking to a group of primarily professional bakers - and for professional bakers he has a point. Did I mention he is opinionated?)

He also passed on a tip he had gotten from Peter Yuen (if you don't know who he is, type the name into your favorite search engine) which was to drill a 1/8inch or so hole in the bottom of brioche tins so that the steam could dissipate and the bottoms bake evenly and flat.

And so much more.

Mr. Hitz is currently in the thrall of blast chillers (for some good reasons) and the question and answer period had spun itself out to a discussion of the best way to use these marvels.  So I had a more important destination - the competition area for the LeSaffre Cup.

I neglected to mention the teams that competed yesterday.  Once again, very beautiful breads.  Peru had a fabulous decorative piece of a working pendulum held aloft on framework of bread.  Very nice.

The ceremony to declare the teams who would compete at La Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie had a familiar air.  Folks went on and on in three languages (too bad for Brazil, eh?) thanking everyone who was even remotely connected with the competition.  There was of course the City of Las Vegas, the Bread Baker's Guild of America, many individuals, the artisan baking community in general...Oh, you want the results?

Teams would be chosen for South America and for North/Central America.  There would be a challenger team and the team that would actually compete in Paris.

For South America:

Challenger Team - Brazil (thought they might regret that bland decorative piece)

Winner - Peru  (and the crowd goes nuts!)

For North/Central America

Challenger Team - Costa Rica


highmtnpam's picture

Loved your stories about IBIE and Ciril Hitz.  You make the personalities come to life.  Pam

proth5's picture

for the kind words

JavaGuy's picture

Could you post the links from the CD please? I would love to go through them.

proth5's picture

because in my "real" life I create training materials for money and would not really like them shared - I decided that once you post things to YouTube yourself, they are pretty much out in the public domain. 

Unfortunately, once I inserted the CD in my home computer, it came up empty.  I will switch over to my traveling computer and hopefully post the links - just be patient.

If anyone sees any reason why I should not post these links - let me know and I will not do it.

proth5's picture

 Shaping Classic Brioche

 Russian Braid with Ciril Hitz

 To view this video on laminating doughs,

please visit


To view this video on mixing enriched doughs, please visit


Have fun!

csimmo64's picture

Regarding planetary mixers, what do you mean about the tolerance between the hook and bowl? My mixer at work constantly has problems grabbed all of the dry ingredients from the sides of the bowl and the dough balls up around the arm then nothing happens until i interfere. I've been solving this by using autolyse by hand, but if you could tell me how to fix this mixer problem that would be great!

proth5's picture

the student, not the master.  The tolerance is how close the hook passes by the bowl of the mixer.

I will say that an autolyse is often a good idea anyway...

I can't tell you how to fix your mixer.  I suspect that this is something inherent in the mixer and dough hook design, but just a home baker here...

Sorry I could not be of more help.

csimmo64's picture

I am completely open to any and all advice you may have on the subject. I understand why you are trying to be humble but I wouldn't want the humbleness to hold me back from possibly getting a point in the right direction. How far do dough hooks on commercial 20qt or 40qt mixers usually gap from the bowl? I believe mine is quite far.

proth5's picture

I don't know much about commercial mixers.  I really am just a home baker.  Not being humble, just being honest.

You could post this question on the professional concerns forum and I'm sure people would help you.

csimmo64's picture

I am completely open to any and all advice you may have on the subject. I understand why you are trying to be humble but I wouldn't want the humbleness to hold me back from possibly getting a point in the right direction. How far do dough hooks on commercial 20qt or 40qt mixers usually gap from the bowl? I believe mine is quite far.

Eidetix's picture

Your mixer most likely can be tweaked so your attachments reach the bottom and all sides of the bowl. Go to the manufacturer's Web site for your make and model to learn what that tweak may be. If you can't find it there, send the manufacturer an e-mail and I'd guess they'd be glad to help.

Otherwise, you could search out a specialized Web forum for users of the machine you're dealing with. Ask fellow users and you shall receive the answer you seek.

Good luck. Let us know how you do.