There really isn’t a food as enticing as freshly baked bread. Evidence shows bread as an integral part of our diet since almost 30,000 years ago. Many kinds of bread exist today, from flat breads to round ones and every shape and texture in between. Bread brings people together and is often what holds a meal together. It is a delivery device for oils, vinegars, soups, stews, curries, and a multitude of other foods. Bread has been and will be a centerpiece in my home and the loaves have been coming out better and better as I work on my personal methods.
This latest batch of bread was one of the best I’ve ever made. I made a dough at 78% percent hydration which achieved a perfect, crusty exterior with a chewy, soft interior. To see how I make the dough (which I use for pizza, bagels, etc.) you can look here at the dough methods page. Note that hydration changes depending on what product is that is being made, and I simply change the initial amount of water being added.
All the bread is based upon 1000g of flour, so it makes the math easy. Also, remember that later in the recipe, you’ll be adding 50g of water with the salt addition so be sure to include that in your hydration calculation. For the bread, I put in 730g of water, then later add the 50g so I get my 780g out of 1000g of flour = hence, the 78% hydration. For bagels, I use 73% hydration, and for pizza dough, 75%.
Read through the pages on the dough method as well as the shaping page. Shaping will take time to learn and with practice will end up being quick and graceful so as not to lose any of the gas trapped in the dough. Play around with fermentation times and temperatures to suit your house and living style. I’ve fermented doughs overnight in the basement or fridge, and I’ve also tried rushing the process by increasing the temperature (not recommended.) Have fun with it and email me if you have any questions.
crusty bread with brie and roasted red pepper/mint/parsley spread