The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Making it up bread

Floydm's picture

Making it up bread

Hi hi...

I baked yesterday for the first time in a looong time.  Had my ripe starter ready to go, only to discover that the battery in my scale had died.  So I completely winged it.

My best guess is that this ended up around 20% rye and a little lower that 70% hydration.

I hope everyone is having a great spring!  Ours has been quite busy with work and a move (same neighborhood, but it still requires packing and unpacking everything).   


hungryscholar's picture

In a way I think that's my goal with bread (and with cooking) to be able to wing it and make something that matches my inclination and the ingredients on hand. Of course, I still very much like to have my scale handy-I want to be able to add a few % of this and that, rather than a pinch of this and a dash of that.

John Thorne has an essay in one of his books about making bread- winging it is what he does for his daily bread, either adding just enough water so that the dough comes together, for a denser bread, or adding as much water as the dough will absorb, for a more "artisan" style loaf.

Floydm's picture

Indeed, it was a bit disconcerting to be entirely w/o the scale, but it worked out fine.

isand66's picture

Looking pretty good for winging it!  Nice to see a post from you and hope your move went smoothly.


Floydm's picture

Thanks!  Yes, the move went as well as can reasonably be expected.

clazar123's picture

Flour+water+yeast+salt= Bread

Flour +water+yeast+salt+knowledge=Good Bread

It is the knowledge, experience, attention and thoughtfulness of the baker that brings a loaf like this to fruition. A sense of adventure also helps. Scales and measuring cups help us to pass the delightful experience on to another hopeful baker but are not always required to achieve good bread. And as we know, even a most detailed recipe with accurate measurements does not guarantee a good bread if the baker does not know his ingredients.

Bread is not hard-just complicated.

Congratulations on a delightful bake after your hiatus.

Floydm's picture

Quite right, and thank you.

lepainSamidien's picture

Either you are a genius or just plain lucky, though I'm willing to entertain the notion that the two are not of necessity mutually exclusive.

In any case, you churned out some pretty nice loaves for just winging it ! I can usually put together a workable dough by feel, but I'm always worried about the salt ratio . . . what did you use to gauge the saltiness ? Did you go by taste ?

Again, great job !

Floydm's picture

Heh, I would agree that both a bit of skill and a good amount of luck came into play. :)

For salt, I just poured a couple of heaps into my hand and went with it.  I think I came up a bit light, but since the butter we had in the house was salted I figured erring on the light side was better than over-doing it. Much easier to add more than take it out when you overdo it!

cerevisiae's picture

Every now and then I like to throw a dough together without measuring just for the fun of it; it's a nice exercise in trusting your hands. The past couple of times I've just turned the dough into foccacia, though. Maybe I should be more bold and do a loaf next time, though.

Hope the kitchen at the new place is pleasant for bread-making!

Floydm's picture


The new kitchen is quite nice. We have a gas stove now, which takes a bit of getting used to, but it hasn't let me down (yet).

dabrownman's picture

about everything and but I make her weigh it out and write it down.  I took the batteries out of the scale today just to see what she would do or even notice:-)

You bread turned out great,  Now you known how bread was made for thousands of years when digital scales weren't even thought of yet.  I'm  pretty sure every Granny out there learned to make bread by feel.  I know I did and I'm not even a Granny bit learned from one!   Nothing like having a handle of the feel that bread should have at various hydration levels and whole grain amounts,

It's fun when a bread turns out well when you wing it,.

Happy baking Floyd