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Sourdough Bread Baking: Sourdough Baker’s Percentages

January has been a crazy month. My baby boy celebrated his first birthday on the 18th.

Mom giving Jack his first cake

Mom giving Jack his first cake

Laura made him a fun shark themed cake that matched the wrapping paper on his presents. He made a huge mess of it.

Messy Boy!

Cake Destroyed!

I also got in a car accident which rendered my vehicle useless.┬áThat sure has made the weekends more difficult, since I can’t even leave the place to get groceries unless Laura is home from work. At work we’ve gone through four separate change of responsibility ceremonies, starting at the company level and going all the way up to theater. Plus I’ve been preparing for two missions that I’m slotted for, one starting tomorrow and the other at the end of March. It sure has been busy.

So we last left off with making a starter and letting it mature into a levain by feeding it and keeping it healthy. If you followed those instructions and have been taking care of it, you should have quite nice mature liquid levain. It should be very active and smell nice and sour when it’s at its peak. Maybe you’ve even found a bread recipe to try it out with.

Well, now it’s time to learn how to formulate a sourdough recipe with your levain using bread formulas. Hopefully, at this point, you are well versed in basic baker’s percentages and have used pre-ferments before. Sourdough formulas can seem a little more complex at first, as there are extra steps and math involved. You’ll remember from using pre-ferments that you have to start with your total dough recipe. Then you select a percentage of your flour that you want to pre-ferment a day before. That requires you to subtract the flour and water that you used in your pre-ferment from the total dough recipe, which gives you your final recipe. Baker’s formulas using levains use that same basic concept. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Army, Baking, Bread, Food, Pizza

 

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Bread Baking Basics: Baker’s Formulas

It’s time for a continuation of Bread Baking Basics!

So we got some of the fundamentals of bread baking down. The basic steps of bread baking have been gone over and we even baked a loaf using just those steps. In order to continue to improve our bread baking skills, we need to know how to formulate a bread recipe. Knowing how to do this introduces us to the main ingredients that go into bread and how they interact with each other, both as a dough and when in the oven.

Most like the Jeffrey Hamelman way of formulating recipes. In fact, I’ve met bakers who would wipe his butt if he asked. I have tremendous respect for his methods, but his baking style is far too scientific for me. I love the science of baking, as it helps bakers understand what is going on in the bread making process, however bread has been around for centuries without science. But hey, if you read his book and it works for you, then that’s great. The way I learned it doesn’t differ all that much from the way he does it, but there are some exceptions, especially when getting into advanced formulations (which we won’t at this time.) Hamelman’s way certainly beats Peter Reinharts, which completely eludes me. I love Reinharts books and the way he explains things, but I can’t use any of his recipes because they’re never done in weight, and I don’t understand his percentages. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Baking, Bread, Food

 

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