The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bourke Street Bakery recipe

welling's picture

Bourke Street Bakery recipe

I'm not a professional baker but i have been successfully baking as an amateur for a couple of years now. In this time I have learned a few basics, such as that strong white flour can absorb water of 60% of the flour weight (approximately). That is, 3/8 water to 5/8 flour. I know that this is flour dependent, but only within a couple of percent.

Today i tried to use the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook to make simple white pizza dough. The recipe called for 600g flour and 445ml liquid (water, milk, oil). This equates to 74% liquid to flour weight. Needless to say, the dough resembled a batter and required several handfuls of flour to bring back to workable dough.

I normally use a Ciabatta dough for my pizza bases, so I am quite used to working with a wet dough, but this was rediculous. Luckily I have enough experience to know what to look for, but others may not be so fortunate. I will be interested to see how other recipes from this book work out.

I am keen to hear other's thoughts and experiences with this book.


Jeremy's picture

It's a wonderful book, though there isn't any bakers BP mentioned, it's an easy to follow book...


Check out my site, for a story on the book and a linseed and soy loaf I made...





ananda's picture


for a standard dough using a good strong flour, then, yes 63% is my ideal target for "ordinary" UK bread.   I suspect that US flour will take maybe a little more water, but that depends on how strong the flour really is.   I use a premium all-Canadian flour in college, so I would tend to echo your figure of approx 60 [I'm just up on that a shade]

However, you should not be counting the oil as part of the liquid; it's a fat, not a liquid in the formula.   So I guess you end up nearer to 70%.   To me this is ideal for a lovely crispy based pizza.   Lower hydration will not give you the authentic open-texture or the thin and crispy base if you bake on the oven sole---HOT!

I would recommend persevering with mixing the dough very soft.   Once mixed, line a bowl with a little oil and give plenty of bulk proof... You can cover the bowl well, and do this in the fridge if you like.   Then just use judicious amounts of flour on the bench to roll out your dough.   It will be very relaxed, so long as you don't try to re-mould it, so it's easy to work with.

Enjoy the softer doughs; they are such fun.   I get upwards of 85% hydration for ciabatta that really is wet!

Best wishes


welling's picture

Thanks Andy,

I will take your advice and give it another go. Stand by for more.