The Fresh Loaf

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Advice needed please

Elsasquerino's picture

Advice needed please

So I'm on holiday. I refuse to eat white sliced all week and can't find any real bread locally.... I know, I've been foolish.

I bought some flour and fast action yeast at the supermarket, I've mixed 1.5 mugs (average UK builders tea mugs) of flour to the same of water with an 1/8 teaspoon of yeast. I have no idea what they weigh so if anyone could be bothered to weigh that it would be brilliant. However my query is whether to add more water after the pre-ferment or just add the salt and flour till it looks/feels right? 

I don't want an enormous loaf and I'm sure I'll manage something edible if left to my own devices, however if any bread boffins fancy helping out that would be great. I have no scales, banneton, parchment or loaf tin so a challenge it will be! Must have bread!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of water, you've already set up a good sized loaf.  One mug of water with 3 mugs of flour should give an decent loaf.  Multiply your water mugs by 3 to figure flour at roughly 60% hydration.  So..."just add the salt and flour till it looks/feels right."  

Then you can wing adding more flour or water to whatever dough consistency you like after the flour has hydrated.  Two teaspoons of salt to start, then taste the dough after it has been mixed and kneaded in.  A whole flour will require more water to get above 60% hydration.  Sounds like you're set up for it.  A little oil dribbled in and around would help a whole flour too or a good splotch of butter.

So Add two mugs of flour to the one and a half you already have and be ready with the third mug of flour.

Elsasquerino's picture

Rather stupidly added too much water already, think I'll follow your advice and perhaps make 2 'mini' loaves! Thanks for your help

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

250ml for a builders tea mug

Elsasquerino's picture

Very helpful, I thought it must be something around there. Thanks Lechem.

clazar123's picture

I have found my "throw it together" loaves are often the best. What a delicious adventure!

How to throw it together:

All preferment

1/2-1 1/2 tsp instant yeast (depending on how fast you want it to ferment)

2 more mugs flour (I am assuming an AP or all purpose flour?)

Scant teaspoon salt

1 soupspoonful fat-oil,lard butter,(optional)

1-3 soupspoonfuls honey or sugar (optional)

Enough liquid (water,milk,beer) to make a slightly tacky dough.

NOTE: If you are using whole wheat flour, make it enough flour to make a sticky dough and when all mixed in, put it in the refrigerator to ferment for 3-12 hours. Otherwise after baking, your loaf will be crumbly. When it is done in the refrigerator, the dough shoud be a bit tacky but not sticky. All the branny bits have absorbed the water and that takes time)

The trick is to knead well to develop to "windowpane". This is when you stretch a bit of dough between hands and see if you can get a very thin "windowpane". It tells you that there is enough moisture to develop the gluten and the starchy gel needed to make a great crumb.

The rest is standard-rise to double-gently shape into a boule or batard-proof-bake.

Have some delicious fun and great eating!


Elsasquerino's picture

I reckon this is going to be fun regardless of the outcome, pretty sure I've done enough bread baking to have a good chance of getting a reasonable loaf... Gotta beat the sliced cotton wool in the shops anyway.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

According to King Arthur Flour a cup of AP flour weighs about 120 grams. It sounds like you've got basically a cup there (if one of your builder's cups holds 250 ml / grams of water), so the flour weighs about half the same volume of water, give or take.

So, you've already got about 375 grams of water and 180 grams of flour in your wet sponge. Thats over 200% hydration, and about 550 grams of starter. If you add 300 grams of flour and a bit of salt to this you will have about 850 grams of dough at roughly 78% hydration. Or so the numbers show. Of course, go by feel, as you would anyway. This is just rough estimating.

Do you have a pot or casserole dish to bake it in? I made the same mistake last time I was on holidays, and added too much water (and didn't have enough flour with me to bring down the hydration). I dumped the wet mess in a well-buttered casserole dish and it turned out quite nice! See my blog post here, if you haven't already.

Elsasquerino's picture

Good thinking with the casserole dish, had a root in the cupboard and that seems a good idea. Might make two small loaves one freeform and one in the buttered dish I'll see what kind of dough ball I end up playing with.


drogon's picture

Guessing somewhere in the UK, so

any use to you?

As for making it by guesswork - look at the size of the bag of flour you have - it'll typically be 1Kg or 1.5Kg, so use half, or a third. (ro get approx. 500g) Sachet of dried yeast (which is 7g or a teaspoon), same salt, mix, then mix in enough water to make a dough and let it rise..


Elsasquerino's picture

Thanks Gordon, what a great website, turns out I'm not that far from some good bread after all... Takes the heat off if this fails! I'm up in Northumberland but a good half hour drive from a town of any size, however now I know where I'm going I'll be more inclined to make the drive.