The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

hello from Orange County

ex99125b's picture
ex99125b

hello from Orange County

Hey everybody. Brand new baker here. I have always enjoyed savory cooking and figure it was time to play with some science...plus, I love fresh bread. I picked up a copy of The Breadmakers apprentice and the concept of baker's percentages was the missing link for my brain...I finally get it. I am planning to go through the lessons here at TFL and have a few questions about weight and measures:

If I choose to measure my water by weight (for percentagee sake) do I measure in straight grams (since water is nearly 1:1 vol/wt)

In lesson one, it calls for 3 cups of flour. KA AP flour is 4.25 oz per cup, 3 cups is 12.75 oz, one oz is 28 gr, so the recipe calls for 357 gr of flour, yet in the comments section the conversions that others have done is closer to 500 grams...what am I missing.

Thanks for indulging my curiosity...and this is before Ive even started.

 

Jim

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Hi Jim,

Welcome!

With somewhere between 350 and 450 grams of flour to 225g water you are looking at between 50 and 65% hydration, which should result in something bread-like.  That is really all the goal of lesson one is.  

 If you are using weights, honestly, you are probably better off skipping lesson one.  It is meant as a confidence builder and is, by design, highly imprecise. Something like the rustic bread has weights and is easy to make (and darned tasty, too!).

Best,

-Floyd 

 

ex99125b's picture
ex99125b

Thank you for the quick response. Thanks for the guidance regarding the recipe in lesson  one.

My book-learnin tells me that approx 60% is the hydration ballpark so with the prescribed 3 c of flour (362 g)the water should be around 217 ml,

The recipe calls for 1  1/8 c (267 ml) of water which would be around 73%...right?

I hope my understanding of this math is correct, I can hang loose with the recipe, I just want to understand the basic principles of the math.

Regarding my questions, If a recipe is given in baker's percentages, how do you figure the weights of the liquid ingredients...other than water?

And, are my calculations right, that 3 cups of flour (KA, AP, 4.25 oz/cup) is 12.75 oz or 362 grams and not 470? 

Has anyone done a bakers percentage version of the lesson 1 recipe?

 

thanks for helping out.

jim

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

if you have a dry cup around, pull it out and measure different ways of filling the cup up and leveling it off.  See what you get.  If you go by grams, you start out leaps ahead.  Cups do vary in different parts of the world.  I figure 3 cups is 375g flour.  Then figure the water weight for 60% hydration.  375g x .60= 225g  So 225g water.

ex99125b's picture
ex99125b

Thanks!

Yes, the KA website master weight chart, they list their AP flour at 4 1/4 oz per cup and my math works that out at 120.5--I thought I was close--so I'm not sure where the numbers in the comment section on lesson one come from. I agree with you completely about starting out with grams...it was the bakers percentage math that finally clicked in my brain and got me interested in trying baking. It just made sense. So even on the easiest, most insignificant lesson, I figured I'd start out converting everything to weight and percentages.

As far as hydration goes you mention 60%, do you usually figure a higher percentage if it's baked on a stone and a lower percentage for loaf pans? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and the wanted outcome.  I tend to do the opposite, the higher my hydration (with rye) the more I tend to fence in the loaf with a bread pan. One could say that each type of flour has it's own hydration parameters but we love breaking rules and trying different ideas here on TFL.  

When I first started baking, I was locked into a bread pan idea, everything was a bun or a sliced toasting type bread (little squarish slices.)  Then I met my husband (all hell broke loose) and I was introduced to free standing loaves and more to bread than white or dark in a plastic bag.  

You are only limited by your own imagination and a few physical properties. (Like how fast the dough can travel.) 

60% is a good place to start, a soft dough for a all purpose flour.  See how you get on and then if it seems too wet go up or down in hydration or learn a new technique in how to handle a dough that you yourself consider "wet."    50% is about the lowest for an AP flour, but a lot of classic buns are based on it.  It is an easy dough to start out with and when you want to improve your handling skills, slowly up the moisture.  

But you want a straight answer so...  doughs that can't keep their shape (or a particular shape is desired) go in pans and those that can keep their shape can go onto a stone even when they go flat like a pizza.  

ex99125b's picture
ex99125b

I guess i thought that  a stone loaf would expose more bread to the air and thus require more moisture than a pan loaf. Thanks for setting me straight. My dough is now sitting out for its first rise. I ended up going with 125g for a cup (as you suggested) it worked out that a level measure cup actually weighed out at about 165 g and that just seemed too much, I attributed it to packing. It all came together pretty well...the only part that I questioned was whether I kneaded it enough...since I read that you cannot knead it too much, i figure I will just learn with experience what the dough should look and feel like when kneaded enough. Do you knead and rest, knead and rest or just knead straight out?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I simply mix everything together until all the flour is wet, cover the shaggy mass with a shower cap and let it sit alone (all by it's lonesome) for 20 to 30 minutes.  It kneads itself, well actually the gluten is developing on its own.   If done without the yeast & salt, it's officially an autolyse.  Then I knead it so it looks smooth, spread it out and sprinkle on the yeast, roll it up and knead it in, then I spread it out again and sprinkle on the salt.  Roll up and knead a little more.  If I'm mad about something or cold, I'll knead up a sweat.  But if I'm being my normal self, I will just spend a 2 or 3 minutes on it.  This is my average white bread, but I haven't made it for a while.  

Someone who likes to knead should jump in here or you can use the site search machine to locate more kneading instructions.  (How to knead) You might want to knead longer, no harm in it unless you add tons of flour.  I find that when the dough sits in the beginning, the dough is much more manageable and needs less flour on the bench if any at all.   I don't want to take all the fun out Jim, so have some fun and make some noise and develop your gluten any way you want to.  "Slap and Fold,"  "Stretch and Fold,"  look 'em up and search thru the videos when you have time.  I even think YouTube can help out.   :)

ex99125b's picture
ex99125b

thank you.

My first loaf is on the cooling rack now!

 

UPDATE: and here it is!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)