Our dough technologists’ favorite foods from around the world
Matthias Engel is a fan of Khari
So many countries, so many customs. This idiom may be truer for food than for anything else. Aside from geographical location and how it dictates what food will grow, cultural peculiarities probably have the biggest influence on cuisine. That is why it is so enjoyable to try other people’s cuisine and discover new delicacies while travelling. Take Khari, for example, the favorite pastry of Matthias Engel, a dough technologist at FRITSCH.
Khari is a salty puff pastry that is eaten mainly in the western parts of India. Khari is either baked neat or refined with Indian spices. “I love Khari, because they are as crispy as potato chips. I especially like Khari with chili, because they have a pleasant hotness – enough to excite the palate, but not so hot that you feel like you’re on fire,” the trained master baker raves.
Matthias joined FRITSCH two years ago. He has known the brand name since childhood, having grown up in a family of bakers. “We had a table ROLLFIX that had a conveyor belt that was still operated by hand crank,” Matthias recounts with a chuckle. He, too, managed the family-run bakery in its fourth generation. After seven years, however, he felt the urge for a career change and decided to pursue a line of work that offered more variety. When he saw the position of dough technologist advertised, he immediately identified with the job profile and applied – with success. “I wanted to work in an environment that gave me the freedom to create new variations of products,” the 34-year-old baker describes his motivation. Such a strong fondness for developing new products is an ideal trait for his profession. His love of Khari is a good example of that.
Khari – a favourite pastry in India
Due to the hot temperatures on the subcontinent, Indians traditionally prefer salty pastries. Khari are no exception – preferably served with tea as an excellent treat for when guests come to visit. The sweetness of the tee, which is often briefly boiled with milk and sugar in India, and saltiness of the pastry make for a very interesting combination. Even Indians living abroad associate Khari with their homeland and culture, since sweet pastries only came into the country with the English in the 17th century. Khari is also a very light pastry and does not contain much fat. The recipes for Khari are kept simple, so it is a relatively neutral-flavored puff pastry, unless you choose to season it more generously.
„What makes Khari special is the fine crispiness and the beautiful, even layering. Those are excellent indicators of the quality of Khari“
, says Matthias, who, as a dough technologist, naturally pays special attention to how pastries are produced.
Despite the size of the country, it is amazing how little the Khari recipe differs from one region to another. What does differ from region to region, however, is the shape – where the spectrum ranges from twisted Khari to squares, tongues, and whirls.
Naturally, Khari can also be prepared on FRITSCH bakery machines, which makes these machines especially attractive for the Indian market. To ensure customers can produce especially crispy Khari, technologists like Matthias are continually working to refine the recipes and processes. At the FRITSCH Technology Center, he and his colleagues have an enormous range of machines, lines, and tools for testing out new recipes and production methods.
The secret to crispy Khari
The challenge in producing Khari lies in the exact preparation and processing of the dough. “Indians place a lot of importance on the layering. That means we have to use guillotines that cut the dough sheet to the desired shape without the dough sticking to the knife,” Matthias explains the challenge of machine production. Blunt knives, in turn, drag the dough behind them when cutting, thereby destroying the delicate structure of the layers. It bonds them together too strongly, and the layers then fail to separate properly during baking. “To arrive at a multi-layered lamination, we run the dough through many times,” Matthias reveals the trick to achieving especially crispy Khari.
During the two years at FRITSCH, Matthias has gained a holistic understanding of the production of baked goods. “It’s not just about being able to operate the line, rather it is about understanding the whole process of creating the customer’s product and what makes it unique,” Matthias explains.
„Our task, as dough technologists, is to do the developmental work for the customer with regard to processes and products. It still amazes me what diversity of products we can produce in such high quality.“
Yet, sometimes, another part of the job is giving the hard sell because many bakers still don’t trust that a machine can work in handcrafted quality.
A little about Matthias Engel
Matthias Engel is a master baker out of passion. Following his apprenticeship, he managed the family bakery in its 4th generation for seven years before starting two years ago as a dough technologist at the FRITSCH Technology Center. Besides Khari, he also enjoys Christmas stollen – a fruit loaf for which he somehow can‘t get his friends & family to share his fondness. But that’s ok: he is not so crazy about the raisin whirls with vanilla filling they seem to like so much.
The FRITSCH Technology Center
The FRITSCH Technology Center offers a fully-equipped, 4,600 m² baking center to our customers. FRITSCH's complete line and machine programme is naturally at your service – from the smallest ROLLFIX to the industrial production lines from the FRITSCH IMPRESSA programme. This means baking technology at its best. This is how the FTC, coupled with the expertise and passion of its employees, offers our customers the best possible support.