A Treatise on Baking

Reproduced on the FAQ for alt.bread.recipes website

+ The alt.bread.recipes FAQ
Search the FAQ
FAQ Statistics
+ A Treatise On Baking
Wheat and Flour
The Scientific Manufacture of Bread
Essential Factors Influencing Bread Quality
Temperature and Humidity
Rope and Mold
Increasing Bakery Efficiency
Miscellaneous Information
+ Part II

A Treatise on Baking

[ACH Foods, Inc., the copyright owner, has graciously permitted the reproduction of A Treatise on Baking, by Julius E. Wihlfahrt, in HTML format on the alt.bread.recipes FAQ Web site. You may link to it but you may not republish it in any other venue without written permission of ACH Foods, Inc.]




Bakery Consultant

in collaboration with





Copyright, 1928 by


Second Printing

Printed in U. S. A. by Rand McNally & Co., New York


This book has been prepared for the purpose of furnishing essential information and suggestions which will be of assistance to the baker in conducting and increasing his business.

In a volume of this length—it is impossible to cover exhaustively each subject pertaining to the baking business or to go into lengthy detail. The aim of this treatise is to explain the fundamental points in connection with the art and science of baking—briefly, yet with sufficient completeness. A sincere effort has been made to adhere to simple and clear expression, eliminating complicated theory and deeply scientific language so that the reading and study of this book may be a pleasure and not a burden.

Part one covers the subject of raw materials, and their handling in the production of bread. Part two contains formulas and processes for the making of bread and other bakery products.

If the reader finds the information contained herein of some assistance in promoting greater efficiency in the production of quality baked goods and subsequent increased sales of his bakery products, then the efforts spent in preparing this treatise have been well rewarded.

Considerable assistance in the preparation of this treatise was rendered by Edward H. Shields Jr., Joseph P. Bachman, Dr. Ralph E. Lee, Dr. Charles N. Frey, Howard A. Clark, and Theodore E. Carl.

Acknowledgment is also made to the bakery trade journals and various text books from which many valuable ideas and suggestions were secured. Sincere thanks is also extended to those who so kindly and constructively criticized the manuscript in the course of its preparation.

Many of the cuts used in Chapter XII were kindly loaned by The Taylor Instrument Companies.



Prior to 1850, practically all of the baking in the United States was done by the housewife. Today the baking business ranks among the leading industries of this country and Canada.

This phenomenal rise in the baking industry may be attributed partly to the normal increase in population. However, it is largely due to the fact that the commercial baker has been steadily winning over the bread baking formerly done by the housewife.

While this “bread victory” of the twentieth century baker seems to be an open acknowledgment from the housewife that today she is willing to purchase bakers’ bread, it is a certainty that she will continue to buy it in preference to her own, only so long as its high quality is maintained. Therefore, it behooves the modern baker more than ever to keep up the standard quality of his loaf and to improve the same wherever possible. Quality and salesmanship have built up this bread market for the baker and only by continued improvement of quality and merchandizing can he retain and extend this market.



The per capita bread consumption in this country is much lower than that of most European nations. This indicates that a tremendous potential market is available to every baker and represents a wonderful opportunity for the expansion of his business. In spite of this, there are some bakers who seem to believe that we have progressed as far as possible and that there are “no new worlds to conquer” in the way of increasing the sales of bakery products.

This illusion may well be compared to the story of a certain former member of the U. S. Patent Department who resigned his job fifty years ago because he felt that there was no further need for his services, believing that invention and discovery had reached its limit, and therefore left no opportunity for the development of newer ideas. On the other hand, we now know that during the past fifty years the progress of invention and discovery has exceeded that of any other half century in the history of our nation.

While most of the bread is now produced by the baker, there is still bread making done at home. The securing of this business, and what’s even more important, the maintenance of the bread business which the baker now enjoys, and increasing the per capita consumption of bread in

general, depends upon keeping up the quality of his loaf and the service back of it. The modern housewife is anxious to rid herself of the kitchen drudgery of home baking but will do so only when she is convinced that the baker can furnish her with as good or better products than she herself can make.


A recent survey showed that outside of bread only 19% of all other bakery products were produced by the commercial baker, and that the housewife was still baking 81% of baked sweet goods. Here is a huge undeveloped market. Here is an opportunity for increased sales and increased profits. A variety of Quality baked goods backed up by quality merchandizing is the key which opens the door to this market.

It has been established beyond doubt that the housewife wants variety in baked goods just as much as she wants it in all other foods. Supply this need and not only will you wean the housewife away from baking this variety of goods home, but you will increase the consumption of variety baked goods which of course, means bigger and better business for you.

In order to help you to produce efficiently a variety of baked goods which will appeal to the discriminating housewife we have included in Part two of this book, an explanation of the “Basic Sweet Dough” which explains how one simple formula will make it possible for you to carry a complete line of sweet goods every day in the week with actually less expense, effort and time than you ever expended on your sweet goods before.


In order to be successful in operating a bakery, it is necessary to give the following six points serious consideration.

  1. A careful study and analysis of market conditions.
  2. Quality of product.
  3. Efficiency in production.
  4. Proper merchandizing methods.
  5. Systematic Accounting.
  6. Good management.

These six cardinal points apply to all businesses and in the following paragraphs their application to the baking business is explained briefly.


Before attempting to produce and sell bakery products, it is necessary to study the local conditions prevailing in the territory to be covered. Ascertain the types of baked goods which enjoy the greatest sale. Make these products in the most efficient manner retaining a touch of individuality and sell them according to modern merchandizing methods.

By so doing your business will be built on a solid foundation. You will then be in a position to still further increase your sales by introducing to your customers, newer, different and better types of baked goods,—featuring those which sell the best and discarding those which are not demanded in your particular territory. Local markets differ in this respect,—the eating habits,—the likes and dislikes of people in reference to bakery products are not the same everywhere. Analyze your own market and be guided thereby.


Sales of baked goods depend primarily on their quality. The housewife is “particular” and demands quality every time. Without quality, you are without sales. Quality is the cornerstone on which your sales are built. Therefore, use quality ingredients, make quality goods, for quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.

Remember that your bakery products are judged in three ways:

(1) Attractiveness—without which they fail to appeal to the eye.

(2) Palatability—without which they fail to appeal to the appetite.

(3) Nutrition—without which they fail to satisfy.


Production efficiency in the baking business means the production of baked goods of the highest quality at the lowest manufacturing cost consistent with the maintenance of quality. Great care should be exercised in the selection and purchase of all raw materials. The elimination of all waste in material, time and labor as well as the minimizing of controllable losses are important factors in securing the greatest possible efficiency in production. Every step in the production of baked goods, from the purchase and checking in of raw materials up to the loading of the delivery wagon represents a production problem. In order to operate any bakery in the most efficient manner possible, it is therefore necessary to understand and control each one of these steps carefully.


In order that a baker may be able to capitalize to the fullest extent on the excellence of his bakery products they must be merchandized properly. The exact merchandizing methods to be followed, depend on the nature of the business, whether wholesale or retail but the basic principles of good merchandizing apply to all bakeries. Well conducted advertising campaigns planned and designed to meet the bakers’ needs are one of the most valuable ways of stimulating sales. Poorly planned advertising campaigns are a waste of time and money.

Attractive salesrooms and attention getting displays induce the housewife to buy more and more bakery products. Frequently this will result in doubling the volume of each sale.

Those people who have not visited the bakery sales room are often influenced to do so through effective advertising carried in newspapers, circulars, blotters, sales letters and other media.

A spotlessly clean bakery is one of the best and cheapest means of advertising. Invite the public to visit your bakery. Show them the quality ingredients which you use and the sanitary scientific manner in which these ingredients are handled so as to produce baked goods of the finest quality. Such advertising is bound to secure new customers.

Your salesmen and saleswomen are the people who actually sell your quality goods which have been attractively displayed and efficiently advertised. They are your points of contact with your trade. They represent you and your policies. They should be carefully selected and properly trained to be friendly and tactfully solicitous to each customer. A smile and a courteous suggestion that the customer buy additional goods will mean larger sales and increased profits.


No business can be successfully operated unless a suitable system of accounting is maintained. Such a system permits the baker to distinguish accurately between those items which are paying and those which are not profitable. An efficient cost accounting system also enables the baker to eliminate wastes in time and materials, to check losses, to effect economies, and to know at all times just where the business stands financially.

Without a good cost accounting system, a business is blind. It may appear to go along well enough temporarily but no one can tell into what pit it may stumble as time goes on.


No ship will come safely into port without a pilot. No army will-be victorious without a commander. No business can prosper without a progressive manager and efficient supervision. Good management represents careful observance of the five other cardinal points of business success, briefly described in the foregoing paragraphs. Good management requires a thorough knowledge of the business so that the work to be done may be organized systematically and supervised wisely. One of the most important phases of good business management is the securing and retaining of efficient loyal employees who can be depended upon to do their work in the most conscientious manner possible.

Every business organization is like a chain, and no chain is stronger than its weakest link. The worries and difficulties in managing a business are largely eliminated if every employee or link in the organization chain is selected because of his ability and willingness to cooperate and work for the best interests of the business as a whole.


The tremendous advancement of the commercial baker during recent years has been made possible by scientific study and discovery, and by the application of this scientific knowledge to the baking industry. The manufacturers of modern bakery machinery have contributed in no small degree to the progress of the baking industry by studying the baker’s problems and requirements and then by perfecting a variety of machines which enable the baker,—both large and small,—to make better bakery products and to make them more efficiently. Formerly, baking was entirely an “art” controlled mainly by the “rule of thumb” and guess work. Today the fact is staring us in the face that the baking industry is a science as well as an art and operations in the bakeshop can no longer be regulated entirely by mere personal judgment or guess work. The use of the thermometer and other instruments of precision as well as the general adoption of up-to-date methods of manufacture and merchandizing are the only means whereby any baker can compete successfully with the other progressive members of the industry.


No one should have difficulty in securing up-to-date information at all times in connection with improving the quality of bakery products and the development of increased sales thru better merchandizing methods. The several institutes or schools of baking in the United States and Canada are at your service. The excellent trade papers and publications on baking afford a wonderful opportunity for the baker to keep abreast with the progress of the time. The allied trades connected with the baking industry today are offering every possible assistance to the baker by means of service departments, schools, advertising and sales promotional departments, as well as educational literature. All of this service is designed so as to help solve the baker’s problems and to build up and expand his business. This valuable help which is so readily accessible should be utilized by all means and not wasted.




I. Wheat and Flour
X. The Scientific Manufacture of Bread
XI. Essential Factors Influencing Bread Quality
  Section One:—The Importance of Yeast—Salt—and Cool Doughs
  Section Two:—Dough Fermentation and Conditioning
XII. Temperature and Humidity
XIII. Rope and Mold
XIV. Increasing Bakery Efficiency
  Section One:—The Necessity of Cost Accounting
  Section Two:—Wihlfahrt’s System of Accounting
  Section Three:—The Control of Visible and Invisible Losses in the Bakery
XV. Miscellaneous Information
  1. The Staling of Bread
  2. Bread Standards and Definition
  3. Vienna Bread, French Bread, Hard Crust Rolls
  4. Rye Flour and Rye Bread
  5. Bakery Sanitation
  6. Insects—Their Prevention and Elimination
  7. Formulae—Method of Expressing and Calculating
  8. Tables of Measures, Weights and Temperature Scale
  9. Bread Examination
  10. Common Bread Faults and Causes
  11. The Food Value of Bread


Formulas for Bread and Other Bakery Products Listed and Explained


Design and Layout: © Anthony Kohn, 2004-7
Content: © Janet Bostwick, Barry Harmon, Anthony Kohn, Dick Margulis, 2004-7
All rights reserved.
"A Treatise on Baking is © ACH Foods Inc, and is reproduce on the alt.bread.recipes FAQ website with permission.
This page can be found at http://abrfaq.info/treatise/188
It was accessed at 09:06, 03 Jul 15 (GMT +1000)