Since I started making my own bread, I seldom bought any from the market.

Bread is a simple food for thousands of years. Ingredients like flour, water, salt, and yeast, are all we need. Moreover, with addition and combination of oil, butter, sugar, honey, milk, eggs and many other ingredients brings different textures and flavors.

Among all kinds, basic white bread is the most fundamental and most versatile.

Here I want to share 3 secrets, make your bread making and bread recipe simply easy and versatile!

(1)

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This is a very useful ingredients percentage for bakers. It’s a golden ratio within the weight of flour, water, salt, and yeast. These 4 ingredients are all we need. Total ingredients % is 100% + 60% + 2% + 1% = 163%

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It’s also optional to add butter and sugar. Total ingredients % is increased, 163% + 6% + 3% = 172%

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Or more creative, with other solid and powder ingredients, bread recipe becomes more versatile. Total ingredients % is increased accordingly.

SUMMARY OF SECRET ONE

With these weight ratio, we can make any adjustable-friendly recipe of our own, according to how much bread we want to make, particularly, how big or small of our bread pan we use.

  • Weight ratio of flour to water is normally 5 to 3 (flour : water = 5:3 = 100% : 60%); more water added, more moisture and softness the bread will appear
  • Weight of salt and instant yeast are normally set ±1% to flour weight (salt = ±1%, instant yeast = ±1%). Weight of salt is normally 2 times of instant yeast (salt : instant yeast = 2:1)
  • Adding butter or adding sugar are optional. weight of butter is normally 2 times of sugar (butter : sugar = 2:1)
  • It’s also optional to add dry fruits and nuts (10~50%), other powders (1~5%)

(2)

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Knowing the volume ratio of the pan and the dough, we can further calculate the right amount of all the ingredients needed.

Let’s elaborate it in details with the loaf pan I use for an example:

  • loaf pan measurement: 20x9x10cm (about 8x4x4 inches)
  • loaf pan volume: 20×9 x10 cm = 1800 cm3 = 1800ml (about 60oz)
  • “water in this loaf pan” weighs 1800 grams (about 4 pounds)

Set the weight ratio of “water in loaf pan” to “dough needed” = 4:1

  • 1800 grams÷ 4 = 450 grams
  • it means, a dough of 450 grams (about 1 pound) is suitable for this loaf pan use

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This recipe makes a loaf of white bread, it weighs 450 grams (about 1 pound)

item weight cups or spoons weight % to flour
bread flour 300 g 2 + 1/4 cups 100 %
water 180 g 3/4 cup 60 %
salt 6 g 1 tsp 2 %
instant yeast 3 g 1 tsp 1 %
total weight 489 g
total weight ratio 163 %
reference 1 cup = 240ml 1 tbsp = 15ml 1 tsp = 5ml

It’s optional to add butter and sugar

butter 18 g 4 tsp 6 %
sugar 9 g 2 tsp 3 %

Total weight ratio becomes 172% (calculation: 163% + 6% + 3% = 172%)

(3)

CREATE YOUR OWN BREAD RECIPE: part or all amount of original ingredients can be replaced by others:

replace bread flour by replace water by
  • wheat flour
  • rye flour
  • rice flour
  • soy flour
  • all-purpose flour
  • plain flour
  • cake flour
  • milk
  • almond milk
  • soy milk
  • juice
  • vegetable puree
  • fruit puree
  • eggs
replace sugar by replace butter by
  • honey
  • syrup
  • molasses
  • maltose
  • brown sugar
  • coconut sugar
  • maple sugar
  • stevia sweetness
  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • sunflower oil
  • canola oil
  • grape seed oil
  • vegetable oil
  • rice bran oil
  • flax seed oil
add dry fruits or nuts add other powders
 (10% ~ 50% to flour)  (1% ~ 5% to flour)
  • rasin
  • blueberry
  • raspberry
  • strawberry
  • candy fruits
  • walnuts
  • peanuts
  • almonds
  • cashew nuts
  • chocolate chips
  • cocoa powder
  • coconut powder
  • green tea powder
  • matcha powder
  • oolong cha powder
  • earl grey powder
  • cinnamon powder
  • pumpkin spice
  • sesame powder
  • bamboo charcoal

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  • measuring cups and spoons (or electronic scales)
  • mixing bowls, spatula, and whisk
  • cooking brush or cooking spray
  • tea towel, or plastic wrap, or bowl lid
  • loaf pan and cooling rack
  • oven and oven mittens

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prepare the bread pan: grease the loaf pan with oil or butter, or have it lined with parchment paper

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  1. weighting ingredients
  2. mixing and kneading
    • mix flour and salt
    • have a bowl, mix water and yeast
    • add flour and salt mixture into the bowl
    • mix all ingredients together
    • knead for 8~10 minutes (I found this process very therapeutic 🙂 makes me calm and happy)
  3. first proofing
    • put the dough into a bowl (greased or not is optional)
    • have it covered with a lid or a plastic wrap
    • leave it in a warm place for 60 to 90 mintues until its volume is doubled
    • (or optional, put it in the fridge overnight for 8 to 10 hours, the dough will go through a slow fermentation, taste even better)
  4. deflating and shaping
    • take the dough out of the bowl and put on a working surface
    • press and fold the dough to deflate the air
    • shape the dough into a nice cylinder, according to the length and width of your loaf pan
  5. second proofing
    • put the cylinder dough into the loaf pan
    • have it covered with a lid or a plastic wrap
    • leave it in a warm place for 30 minutes or until its volume reaches 80% ~ 90% of the loaf pan volume
  6. baking
    • have the oven preheated to  200*C / 400*F
    • place the loaf into the oven
    • bake for 30 minutes
    • optional: some water (1/4 cup ~ 1 cup) can be put under the loaf pan to create some steam, it’ll make the bread with a beautiful crust

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Also another video of basic white bread recipe and making:

2 replies on “bread making 101: golden ratio of basic bread recipe ingredients

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