Where it all started - Lesson One
My attempt at Artisan Rosemary Bread June 18, 2017
Pre-mentor I bumbled through a typical Pinterest recipe, being promised the world and ending up with an unsightly but edible loaf. A 30 minute hands-on-time promised, a three hour hands-on-time ended up being more accurate. Why was it so difficult? It proofed beautifully, but as soon as I went to form the loaves I realized I had a pile of sticky bubbling goo that did not resemble dough in the slightest. After two hours of rising I was determined to bake it, so I added cup after cup of flour, until I almost had a round "loaf." I placed poured it in to my trusty pre-heated cast iron pot and hoped for the best. Well it worked.. sort of. We munched on it happily, but for a whole day of work it certainly was no baguette from Pain d'Epis, and while I did not expect it to be award-winning, I would have settled for worthy of the mouth-watering that the smells emerging from the oven elicited.
I started researching some books to get a better idea of the fundamentals, and Tim (my dear husband) sent the ones I showed him off to "the bread whisperer" to get an opinion. Before I knew it I had my first homework assignment - figure out what went wrong by converting my recipe to grams and reading up on bakers math. With my hate-hate relationship with math I knew this was going to be fabulous fun, so I dove in. A couple of frustrating attempts later this is what I came up with:
- 3 cups lukewarm water = 791g
- 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (1-1/2 packets) = 13g
- 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt = 18g
- 6-1/2 cups all-purpose white flour = 845g
- 2 tablespoons sugar = 25g
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary = 25g
so based on what I read - the water probably should have been at about .70 of the flour? If that's the case - the water should've been about 591g - which explains why I had a soggy mess on my hands and had to add a ton of flour when attempting to knead and shape?! According to this I was at about 94% hydration?!
If my original recipe was in bakers math
- Flour: 100% 845g
- Water: 94% 791g
- Salt: 21% 17g
- Instant yeast: 15% 13g
- Total: 230%
A more useable recipe would be something like this?
- Flour: 100% 845g
- Water: 70% 591g
- Salt: 2% 2g
- Instant yeast: 2% 2g
- Total: 174%
And I was close! TBW (the bread whisperer) suggested 66% would probably make a better result, but ultimately yes - 94% hydration is why I had a sticky situation on my hands.
Well lesson one - a flooded flour - I got a nod, I passed, so now for lesson two!