Roll With The Flow: Check Out Water Softness And Quality When Opening Your Own Bakery Or Pizzeria

Posted on: 2 December 2015

Keep your end product in mind as you investigate properties for your new bakery or pizza shop. Since breads, baked goods and pizza dough are composed of fair amounts of water, you must research the quality of all plumbing and pipes, water heaters, water softeners, and the water quality itself.

An inspector or plumbing professional will check for the following issues, and both are worth taking along as you shop for a suitable baking facility:

Plumbing and pipes.

All plumbing should be up to code, made of approved local materials, with no corrosion, leaks or heavy scale (mineral deposits) in lines. There should be adequate pressure delivered to run pressure washers, dishwashers and any other specialized equipment.

Water heaters.

These appliances should be properly grounded, free of heavy scale, and maintained as recommended by their manufacturers. A proper water heater should have enough capacity to handle your peak water needs while consistently delivering water at your required temperatures.

Have a water softener professional handle the following issues:

Water characteristics.

You must know the water quality of a facility before using that water to make large amounts of dough. Excessively hard or soft water or the wrong pH will have profound impacts on your dough and your equipment. Remember, though, that nearly any problem with the water supply is easily corrected.

  • Hardness or softness--the hardness or softness of water is basically determined by how many minerals are dissolved in the water. A reading of 50-100 parts per million (ppm) is ideal. The water softener company will be able to measure this amount for you.
  • Hard water problems--if you don't correct excessively hard water, levels above 100 ppm will lead to stronger, stiffer dough due to interactions between the flour's proteins and the minerals in the water. Hard water can severely suppress the activity of yeast as well. It will damage equipment over time, especially those appliances and machines using hot water, since the heat will demulsify the minerals in hard water. As minerals are deposited and build up on metals and other surfaces, they can clog pipes, damage internal mechanisms, and ruin water pressure.
  • Softener problems--many professional bakers swear by water softeners, but softener appliances often use salt, meaning you may need to adjust the salt levels in recipes. Better still, have your water softener specialist install filters to clear salt out of all water that's delivered to the kitchen.
  • Acidic or alkaline--pH of recipe water should be between 6.5 – 8. If you have overly alkaline water, with a pH lower than 6.5, a quick fix is to add cream of tartar, vinegar, or sourdough starter to recipes to bring up the pH. If water measures above 8, it's too acidic for proper dough, so add a bit of masa corn flour or baking soda to lower pH.

Water softener system.

Your water softener professional will have solutions to raise or lower the pH of your water, adjust the hardness of water, and provide filters to keep trace ingredients from affecting the performance or taste of your products. This vital plumbing infrastructure protects your equipment, too. Water softener experts will also be able to service, repair, and replace any existing water softener system that is not doing its job.

For more information, contact Anderson Water Systems or a similar company.

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