I'm fairly new to bread baking. I see a lot of recipes talking about hydration, percentages, etc. Where is a good place to learn how to bake bread and understand hydration, etc. Thanks!! Susan
I have learned bunches and bunches from Peter Reinharts books!
I would recommend getting The Bread Bakers Apprentice and Whole Grain Breads. These books were awesome at preparing me for baking my first loaves. These books have some great recipes, and the first hundred or so pages are just about the how's of bread baking!
You'll love 'em! There are many other books, and I have most of them...I recommend these over the rest.
I thought I knew about bread. After starting the books, I realized how little I really knew. I am now reading the Advanced Bread and Pastry book by Michel Saus. This is a textbook used at some of the schools and is extremely detailed. Get this book after you have read the Reinhart books, and a couple of the others out there on bread...there are a lot of good books, the above books were my favorite...
"Baker's Math" in The Fresh Loaf Handbook.
Click the "handbook" tab at the top of any page. Then click "Bread Basics", the click on "Baker's Math" for a brief exolanation.
"Hydration" refers to the percentage" of water, relative to flour weight.
This site is quite amazing. It grows all around you and you don't know it unless you click outside your comfort zone once in a while!
I tend to visit the same old places and this post reminded me that I have to check out all the wonderful additions that get added over time.
As for Baker's math-I had a hard time using it until I gained a little more experience with bread and understood how the ingredients behaved. It presents a real life word problem that my elementary school math teacher was so good at drilling into us. (Thank you Mrs.Snelson).
Thank you all for your wonderful help, I shall buy Peter Reinharts book and see where that takes me!! Thank you Floyd for such a informative site!! Susan
Also, for those of you who have tried to master Jason's Ciabatta bread, if you follow the instructions WORD by WORD, make sure the dough is leaving the sides of the bowl and coming up from the bottom without sticking. Also when you flip it be GENTLE, I think the iron fist comment confuses some of us, but it is WONDERFUL, when I make it, I have a list of friends who get a loaf and my list has gotten so long that I have put them on rotation!! Happy baking!!