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This base recipe will get you a long way.

The bread recipe in this magazine is built on the idea that there is only one bread formula and all other breads are variations of it. More complicated recipes add new steps and ingredients — yet, at its core, even a brioche dough can be brought back to these humble roots.

This is a free preview of an article published in BREAD Magazine Issue 1.

Buy the issue to read the full article!

My goal in this first issue of BREAD is to teach you this recipe and the key concepts behind it so that you will be prepared for the new variations we’ll introduce in future issues — and ready to get started with your experiments!

The recipe has four ingredients: flour, water, salt, and leaven.

In editions to come, we will look closely at each of the four and the different things you can do with them. But before we go there, we’ll start with the most basic version.

One that you can bake in just a few hours.

Measuring Ingredients

Most bakers measure their ingredients by weight instead of using volume measures.

For professional bakers, this is handy as they use big bags of flour, often 10 kg or more: they can just pick the bags they need and pour them into the dough mixer without worrying about cups and such.

Another reason for this is accuracy — and this is also why you should start measuring your ingredients this way right from the outset. When you use a scale to weigh 100 grams of flour, you are much more likely to get it right than if you try to get an exact 0.8 cups of water.
If you don’t have a scale, go and buy one before continuing (I promise this is the only piece of equipment you have to buy for now). Choose a digital scale that you can reset to zero between measurements. It will make your life easier.

Baker’s Percentage

When you first saw the recipe at the beginning of this article, you probably wondered why all of the ingredients were presented as percentages rather than weights.

This method is called “baker’s percentage” and it’s how professional bakers remember and talk about their recipes. For some reason, the method is usually only taught to more advanced bakers. But the concept is not complicated at all and will help you remember the recipes by heart (a very handy way to impress your friends), so why keep it from you?

Here’s how it works:

Baker’s percentages present all ingredients in a bread formula as their proportion of the total amount of flour in the dough.

An example will help you grasp the idea:

Start by deciding how much flour you want to use in your dough. To make calculations easier, we’ll begin with 1 kilogram, or 1000 grams (this will lead to two large loaves or a bunch of buns).

Then, look at the recipe.

Every ingredient is presented with a percentage — for example, 70% water. That number tells you how much of the ingredient is included in the dough in relation to the flour, measured in weight.

This is a free preview of an article published in BREAD Magazine Issue 1.

Buy the issue to read the full article!

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  1. This is a fantastic writeup and makes understanding bakers percentages very easy!
    A couple of things I’d suggest adding:
    1. How to do the conversions between fresh yeast to instant yeast.
    2. Your salt and fresh yeast shouldn’t interact/touch before the water is added to the mixture as the salt will destroy the yeast.