Bread

I like making bread. This page has some simplified recipes for different tasty breads. It’s mostly a reference for myself because sometimes I forget the ratios, and many a website will list ingredients by volume (see below for why this matters). Maybe some day I will post pictures and more detail. Until then, you can enjoy my bread journey on Twitter.

This page does not aim to be a complete baking instruction manual. I recommend checking out a couple of other instructive recipe pages like this one first.

Notes

All the percentages on this page are in terms of mass, not volume. Mass and volume are interchangeable for things like water, which are not very compressible, but not for ingredients like flour.

You may notice that the percentages do not add up to 100%. This is expected; they are percentages of the total flour in the recipe, not the total dough. For a recipe that says “100% flour” and “80% water”, you can pick 1000g of flour and 800g of water. If it says “80% wheat” and “20% white” then the two flours together add up to 100% of the total flour.

Water is variable in all of the following recipes. I prefer handling high hydration dough, so I use 80% water.

White loaf

Ingredient       Quantity
----------       --------
White flour         100 %
Water                80 %
Salt                  2 %
Yeast                 1 %
           OR
Sourdough levain     20 %

Bake 1 hour at 450F. After 20 minutes, remove lid.

I like King Arthur’s videos on shaping and pretty much everything else.

White/wheat loaf

Ingredient       Quantity
----------       --------
White flour          80 %
Wheat flour          20 %
Water                80 %
Salt                  2 %
Yeast                 1 %
           OR
Sourdough levain     20 %

Bake 1 hour at 450F. After 20 minutes, remove lid.

Focaccia

Ingredient       Quantity
----------       --------
White flour         100 %
Water                80 %
Olive oil             8 %
Salt                  2 %
Yeast                 1 %

Additional water, olive oil, salt, and herbs required for topping. Bake 35 minutes at 425F.

I like how this man from Genoa makes his focaccia. I learned a lot from his shaping and poking and dressing.

Ciabatta

Percentages are in terms of total flour in each subcomponent. I haven’t figured out an understandable way to convey this, so I included an “Example” column to disambiguate.

Ingredient       Quantity   Example
----------       --------   -------
BIGA
  White flour       100 %     225 g
  Water              75 %     170 g
  Yeast             0.1 %   1/8 tsp
DOUGH
  Biga              175 %     395 g
  White flour       100 %     225 g
  Water              75 %     170 g
  Salt                2 %       9 g
  Yeast               1 %       3 g

Make biga overnight. Combine with dough in the morning. Stretch and fold once or twice. Don’t shape. Gently transfer to counter or floured pan to prove a little bit. Bake 25 minutes at 425F.

See the King Arthur recipe and pro formulas. They differ a little bit in their hydation but that’s fine.

Also make sure to watch Martin and his kid bake this.

Mostly rye sandwich loaf

Ingredient       Quantity
----------       --------
Rye flour            85 %
White flour          15 %
Water                80 %
Honey                 8 %    (as needed)
Salt                  2 %
Yeast                 1 %

Stretch and fold as usual, but don’t shape. Instead, pat it down into a rectangular baking pan. Brush the top with honey. Bake 1 hour at 450F.

Dinner rolls

See white/wheat loaf. Oil a large pan or baking sheet. Shape dough into equal-sized tiny boules. Arrange on the pan. Prove 20 minutes. Bake 30 minutes at 325F.

Sufganiyot

Ingredient       Quantity
----------       --------
AP flour            100 %
White sugar          20 %
Water                35 %
Vegetable oil        12 %    (1/4 cup)
Vanilla extract     2.6 %    (1 tbsp)
Eggs                 2 ct
Salt                  2 %
Yeast               1.5 %

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Stretch, fold, and rest until doubled. Roll to 1/2 inches thick. Cut out circles. Prove. Fry 90 seconds/side. Fill. Celebrate.

Sourced from thetasteofkosher.com.

Miscellaneous

Small tips

It’s easier to pour flour into water and mix it up than the other way around. This helps avoid flour getting stuck on the bottom of your bowl.

Learn to bake bread on your schedule.

Suggested baking tools

Not all of these are required. Some people will tell you to buy a bunch of expensive equipment. Bake with what you have, and if you want to incrementally improve your tools, go for it.

Philosophy

A very smart person once asked me, “Is bread defined by its ingredients?” I would argue that the magic of bread is that it is more than the sum of its component parts, and therefore is not entirely defined by its ingredients. Timing, folding, shaping, and scoring have huge impact on the final product. Put some love into your loaves.