new bread baker
- well, that's not actually true. I have been baking bread intermittently over the years with limited success in producing a good loaf. I haven't baked bread for over 2 years due to arthritic wrists (I always kneaded by hand), now I have a stand mixer so I am ready to try again.
I have been reading well known Bread Books and perusing this site and have become totally confused as there is so much contradictory information out there. I have lots of questions to ask and I know there are a lot of knowledgeable and helpful people here so I hope I get some feedback.
I know virtually nothing about baking bread as all I ever did was copy a recipe from a book or magazine. I now realize this isn't a good way to start.
During my initial experimenting, I have found that all flours weigh differently, not just the type of flour but the brand and one is most likely using a different brand than that in the recipe so you are starting off using more or less than is in the recipe. Most North Americans use cups rather than scales. Being originally from U.K. I have always used scales. Looking through my bread books and TFL, I checked the recipes where both cup and gram measurements were used and found there is quite a discrepancy in the conversion of cups to grams from one baker to another due, no doubt, to how one fills the cup.
I know there are a lot more factors that affect the outcome of the bread but I think I should start by producing my own recipe so, how to I begin? I would like to start off making a basic wholewheat or part wholewheat sandwich loaf (flour, water, yeast, salt and maybe a little sweetener) then hopefully going on to greater things! If I start with the flour weight, how do I work out the percentage of the othe ingredients? I've read about bakers' % but don't know much about it. Is this the way to go?
I believe it is helpful to soak wholewheat flour in the water before adding the other ingredients. How much of the water and for how long the soak.
I would really appreciate someone answering these basic questions and also welcome any criticisms about the way I am going about things and pointing me in the right direction if I am not.