Bread Making, the Confusing Issue of Bakers Percentages

bakers perHey, I’m not the best bread maker in the world–far from it. I mean, I don’t post on the Fresh Loaf forum, and I’m really shy about my skills. OK, so I am new at this–a Newbie. I often compare making bread to riding a motorcycle in Thailand. Bad signs, or signs in a language I can’t read, so I am often lost…

Recipes? How many have I tried and then midway through had to wing it. I do it too. I think I’ve typed baking soda and instead typed baking powder. Errors happen, we’re not machines, and it’s hard when you’re working and running a small blog to check yourself. I mean sometimes I even go out of the house with my shirt inside-out, so I take no responsibility for errors, exclusions, or just plain old mistakes…

So, I’ve learned to second guess everything on the web. It’s just my nature. I mean, who knows if that recipe you’re bragging about is as good as it looks (or seems to be). That’s why Photoshop is there. To make you look 10 years younger, or that recipe to look ten times better than it really is.

I’m not perfect. If I were (or was), I’d be some genius living in Silicon Valley, jumping out of plans at 40,000 feet, and getting my ugly mug on the news.

Anyway, I just use my own baker’s percentages, just like I let my wet dough rest for 20 minutes before I knead it. Does it really make for a better loaf. Will the average Joe say ‘hey, I can tell you let your dough rest. Good job.’ Probably not.

The thing about percentages is it lets me worry less. For example I’m pretty comfortable with the hydration of 66%, therefore no matter how much flour I use I know to calculate 66% of the water. I do it in grams. It’s easier that way, all this teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, and 1/2 cups got tossed. You know 480 grams of flour, 66% of water, oh lets say 1.5-2% yeast, another 3% sugar, and salt. I’ve learned to embrace the percentages, the grams, I don’t stress out as much, and if I want to double everything, it’s so much easier.

Maybe I’ll get some flak about my numbers, but yesterday I made a mice loaf (or two) of bread and it looks very nice, rising at the appropriate time, and volume, so that make me happy. Those who eat it as well. I rarely get complaints, people eat, they enjoy, they compliment me…So all is right with the world.

bread yogurt honey


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