Archive for May 2010
A bit of number crunching is a baker’s daily business. Here are a few calculations I feel myself forced to use rather frequently (except the last one, which is more of a very theoretical nature). Note that these calculations do not work for volumes like cups (or handfuls, gills or shovels) but only for weight / mass measures. I like to use g and kg, but if you prefer ounces, stones, atomic mass or any weight unit, fine. Weight reflects the number of molecules of the ingredients that connect with each other. Volume doesn’t.
Straightforward scaling, etc.
1. How do I calculate the hydration of a dough?
Answer: Hydration is given by weight of water to weight of flour (and all other dry mass that will bind water except salt and yeast). Example: The recipe uses 600g of flour and 400g of water. The hydration is 400 / 600 = 2/3 = 0.666… = 67%. Note that liquids in general are not 100% water. Full fat milk for example has about 87% of water. When calculating hydrations, you have to take this into account where large amounts of it are used.
2. I got a recipe from the internet that uses X grams of flour but I want make a loaf using Y grams flour. How to fix this?
Answer: Scale every ingredient with factor X / Y. Example: The recipe calls for 700g of flour, but you want to use 500g of flour. Multiply every weight in the recipe with 500 / 700 = 5 / 7 = 0.71…
3. I made a dough with a hydration of X %. If I use Y lb. of flour, how much dough will I have not taking into account salt, yeast and all other small quantities?
Answer: You will have exactly (1 + X/100)*Y lb. of dough. Example: Hydration is 68% and 1 lb. of flour is used. This will yield 1.68 * 1 lb = 1.68 lb. = 1 lb. 10.9 oz. = 762g of dough.
4. I have a recipe here that uses a hydration of X %. I want to have exactly Y kg of dough, neglecting salt, yeast and other small quantities. How much flour do I need?
Answer: You will need Y / (1 + X/100) of flour. Example: Recipe has hydration of 70% and you want to make 300g of dough. Flour needed is given by 300g / 1.7 = 176.4g.
5. I wanted to make a dough with X % hydration and used Y g of flour. Now I accidentally added Z g of water, which is way too much. Since I can’t take out the water, how much flour do I add now to get the correect hydration?
Answer: You will have to add (Z / X) – Y of flour. Example: 500g of flour is in the bowl and you want 65% hydration. You accidentally added 430g of water, which is too much. Then you must add (430g / 0.65) – 500g = 162g of flour.
Further playful examples
6. During baking dough for a medium-sized loaf of bread will lose 20% of its own weight. I am using a hydration of X % and need the baked loaf to weigh Y g. How much flour do I need for such a loaf?
Answer: You will need (1 / 0.8) * Y / (1 + X/100)) lb. of flour. Example: You want 750g loaves and are using a hydration of 71%. You will need (1 / 0.8) * 750g / 1.71 = 548g of flour.
7. I want to test the effect of a specific ingredient on height of finished loaf of bread baked in a rectangular tin (which then is a measure for dough volume). I have made 8 different loaves using the following quantities of the ingredient: 0%, 2%, 4%, 6%, 8%, 10%, 12% and 14%. I have measured the height and have the feeling the greatest height is somewhere in the middle, but where is it exactly?
Answer: If the greatest height is somewhere in the middle you probably have results like shown in the picture below. Even with such a small amount of samples it is possible to graphically determine the maximum by drawing the resulting curve. In this case the best bread volume would be at around 5% of the ingredient.
There is a point where the beans start to sweat and quickly turn black. I found after that point almost all coffee tastes the same and I wouldn’t want to consume it on a regular basis. But a little oil escaping from the hot bean and a dark color is fine and helps to bring out the intensity that I like in a shot of espresso or in my “latte”.
When the beans are done it is probably best to cool them quickly to stop the cooking process and “seal” the aroma. There is a skin around the raw bean which is shed during roasting and needs to be removed in order to be able to produce caffè with crema. Also any remaining pieces of that skin can mess up the grinder. Between each Kilogramm of home-roasted coffee I grind a pound of professionally-roasted coffee in an attempt to clean it but don’t know if it is necessary.
3-days breakfast rolls (makes 6-8 rolls)
- 100g strong white flour
- 65 water
- 2g sea salt
- 1g fresh yeast
Mix and knead briefly. Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature until expanded. Then put into fridge overnight, for 12-18 hours. The next day take out of the fridge 2 hours before using it in the dough.
- 100g water, hot, approx. 80°C
- 40g coarse spelt meal
- 30g sunflower seeds
- 30g rolled oats
- 6g sea salt
Mix and let stand covered at room temperature for 3-20 hours, depending on your time frame (which shouldn’t be a problem if you’re making 3-days-rolls)
- Pâte fermentée
- 100g strong white flour
- 100g whole-spelt flour or wholemeal flour or whole-rye flour
- 50-100g warm water, to make a loose dough
- 20g lard
- 5g barley malt
- 3g fresh yeast
- More sunflower seeds, rolled oats and any rye meal for sprinkling on top
Mix to a sticky dough using your favorite method, either by hand or machine. Let rise for 60-90 minutes until well-risen. Divide, shape into rolls, moisten the surface and dunk into a bowl of additional seeds. Line a small baking sheet with baking paper, put rolls on it and put in fridge overnight.
On baking day, get tray out of fridge, heat the oven to 260°C and put the tray in the oven. Wait 20-25 minutes until rolls’ color is a rich golden brown. If not eating them all, store in a freezer bag and toast the next morning, which sometimes brings out the most sensational whole-grain flavor.
The result is a moist loaf that is sliced thin to release its strong flavor and aroma. Very good. Will post translated recipe ASAP.
I like my sandwich with spicy pastes or spreads. The chickpea flavor of the one I’ve used here is very good in combination with turkey and a couple of cucumber slices. You could add tahini and garlic to the chickpea spread to make hummus and congratulate the people behind the biggest serving of hummus ever made.
Sponge (= biga)
- 70g strong white flour
- 42g cold water
- 1g fresh yeast
Mix together, knead briefly and let stand covered at cool room temperature for 12-16 hours. It shoud look very inflated.
- 280g strong white flour
- 180g warm water
- 8g butter, softened
- 8g sea salt
- 5g powdered gluten
- 4g fresh yeast
- 4g sugar
- 0.5g malt
Mix on highest speed for 4-5 minutes or until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Let rise for 45 minutes, then shape into a sandwich loaf and prove for 45-60 minutes.
Bake at 230°C for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 210°C and bake for further 30-35 minutes until brown on top.
Chickpea sandwich spread
- 100g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cardamom seeds
- pinch of powdered chile
- 1/4 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 or 4 dried tomatoes, soaked overnight in water
- 5-10 tbsp water
Cook the chickpeas for about 60-90 minutes until soft. Roast the cumin and cardamom in a pan and as it starts to release aromas, grind the two spices in a mortar. Blitz everything on the ingredient list together except the dried tomatoes, chop those. If necessary, put through a sieve; chickpeas can be quite tough even cooked. Season with additional salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes to the finished smooth paste.