Every brewmaster deserves a break (or two). Brewing beer can be a long, hot and humid job so a break or two is a welcomed event, ESPECIALLY if they are necessary for the brewing process. Brewing beer has two break steps in its process, the hot break and the cold break.
Each break is necessary for clarification and protein separation
When wort is being brought up to boil so that the hops can be added a layer of foam will begin to form. This foam is high in protein and sulfur and can give the beer a cabbage/corn off taste. It is very important that the wort is allowed to come to boil and left to boil for a few minutes before the first hops addition. This additional boiling allows the proteins to clump together and settle out later in the process. A good indication that the heat break has been reached in the disappearance of the foam head.
The next critical break comes at the end of the boil. The newly hopped wort has to be chilled to below 35ºC within 10-15 minutes. This, again, allows the proteins present in the wort to clump together and settle out. This is very important for achieving a clear final product. Interestingly, many craft breweries are playing around with the cold break to achieve different levels of haze in order to give their beer a little more character.
So as can be seen, breaks are critical to achieving your goals!