The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New member with questions.

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novicebaker101's picture
novicebaker101

New member with questions.

Hi,  I am a very novice cook and  I  want to learn how to bake and just found this website. I am excited to find lessons for a beginner. I bought a digital thermometer and digital gram scale and had some questions. 

1.   Grams per 1 cup varies from 1 reference to another especially for flour.I've seen ranges for AP flour ranging from 114g-157g.  For this website- specifically, the recipes in the lessons,    can you tell me how many grams are in a cup of all-purpose flour so that I have a good starting point?   Can someone put the gram weights for the ingredients in the recipes (especially the lessons for us beginners) to help decrease our errors? (ie too much or too little flour ) Lesson 1 needs 3 cups  flour and with the range given in weights per cup of flour, that could mean a difference of 129 gm!

2. If you do have a reference section on grams to cups on this website for the different flours etc, where can I find it? I thought I might find something in the handbook but did not see one. Not sure if I missed it

3. The handbook said that the french kneading method and stretch and fold works best with dough w/ a long rise time? What does that mean exactly?  For the recipes in the lessons, can I make  each one with any of the kneading methods mentioned or is it best to use only certain ones?   How do you know what kneading method works best for which type of bread?

Thanks so much.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I use 125g to 130g AP flour to a cup.  Heavier flours will weigh more, lighter flours will weigh less.  You can find Baking metric conversion tables using a search engine like Ecosia or Google to locate one you like.  Each table will have slight variations so Be warned.  Your measurement will also vary.  If you don't have any dry cup measuring cups, go by 130g.  Also you will find that liquid measuring cups (for water) will also vary from 238g to 250g.  Yes, has to do with who's cup in who's country.  Cups just aren't very accurate (you discovered that fact) but closer to about what is needed than using handfulls or scoops or your favorite coffee mug.  

(I was thinking about answering you on the other thread, but this one also popped up with similar Q's) 

Long rise times.  Not very discriptive and can be different for each person.  To me 24 hours is a long rise time, maybe even 12 hrs.  To someone who wants the bread risen in 1 1/2 hours, 2 hours may be a long rise.  Six hours or more is generally considered a long rise.  Rise times are dependent on the hydration or water content of the dough, the dough temperature, and the air temperature around the dough, and most importantly the amount and type of leavening in the dough.   

During long rises (say over 6 hours) the dough gluten relaxes a lot and if left just to rise, it will get so loose that the form is flat, a puddle of dough.  By folding the dough at intervals during a long rise, a tightening of the gluten structure occurs and the dough soon can support itself with a form that is more supportive for a shape going up.  This is especially true of wetter doughs that relax their gluten structure faster.  What method you chose to knead or fold depends on the crumb you are looking for.  Kneading during the bulk rise can often be too much stress on the gluten structure causing ripping.  This is not desired.  

To find out which kneading or folding methods you prefer, first follow instructions, then do the recipe again and try something else.  Now compare the loaves.  It is important even in these early learning stages that you take notes on your activities.  Record the recipe used and details of temp, time, and date and how you shaped your loaf, if it was sticky, any additions of water or flour and the amounts.  Even weighing your finished dough.  Try to capture as many details and you can so that you can compare with other results. I will even include weather conditions.   Try to change only one thing at a time while experimenting and learning to see what causes changes.  Everyone has their own way of doing things and this is a great place to get and share ideas.  Important is that you keep track of what you're doing and find what works for YOU.

Trial and error.   Knowing what method of kneading to which type of bread right now is really pushing the cart before the horse.  Most recipes will make suggestions.  Just get your hands dirty and see what works for you.  

novicebaker101's picture
novicebaker101

Thanks so much for clarifying some things for me. I live in the U.S. and so all my kitchen supplies were bought here, I did weigh my AP flour with  a dry measuring cup and did get different weights so I  got worried as to what the standard was for the recipes here. Time to get my hands dirty!!!

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

No true "grams per cup" conversion for flour exists.  You can do an experiment yourself to show why this is so.  Scoop and weigh a cup of flour.  Then sift the flour, measure out a cup and weigh again.  The unsifted flour is heavier than the same amount (in volume) of sifted flour.  Although the weight of flour also varies due to ambient humidity, etc., weighing ingredients in grams is still a more accurate way to bake bread than using volume measurements. 

I find this to be particularly so for liquid amounts.  It is very difficult to get a precise measure of a liquid using a standard marked measuring cup.  The printed marks may or may not be precise, the thickness of the glass and angle of viewing distorts the placement of the water level, and the liquid must be on a level surface and not moving to get a "final" measurement.  Doing liquids by weight removes this variation.

Doing salt, etc., by weight overcomes differences caused by the fineness of the grind.

I'm a relative novice at bread baking and a real newbie to weighing ingredients but now have the enthusiasm of a convert.  And when it comes right down to it, weighing turns out to be easier to do!

mabesera's picture
mabesera

Can someone tell me if I am making an overnight poolish if it needs to  go in the fridge? In the "five minute bread" One mixes flour water and yeast and leaves it out over nght. I was recently told by a baker it should go in the fridge.

Thanks for any insight! 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A lot has to do with room temp and amount of yeast.  I normally leave a poolish on the counter top, the small amount of yeast can then ferment the flour.  The refrigerator is too cold for the yeast to grow properly.  If I use the entire portion of yeast or have very hot and humid weather, and want to slow it down to get back to it in the morning, then I will chill (retard) it and let it warn up and give it time to ferment before using it.  The chilling delays the fermentation or reduces it drastically.  With a poolish, it is desired that the flour ferment overnight.  Don't refrigerate.