Bread Basics – Class Outline


Part One:  What The Ingredients Do

Volume vs Weights. What Baker’s Percentage is and why it’s a good thing.

Bread Flour vs AP Flour

Water — 55%, 60%, 75%+

Salt —  ~2%

Oil/Butter/Fat — In pizza doughs and rolls. How oil effects the relative hydration. What fats do to the crumb hole structure. Browning effects. ~3% and higher effects

Sugar —  How it locks up water. How it promotes browning.

Eggs, Egg wash

“Regular” yeast vs Rapid Rise yeast.


Loose Guideline Formulas:

Basic Dough 60 water (2 salt)

Focaccia +15 water, + 3 oil

Ciabatta +15 water

Pizza +3 oil

Preztel, Crispy Breadstick -5 water

etc — needs cleaning up and accuracy fixes


Part Two:  Fermentation, And, How To Make a No-Knead Bread

Comparing the tastes of a refrigerator rise vs a room temperature rise. Enzymes and why they’re important. Acetic acid vs lactic acid.

Poolish (~30% of total flour.  1/1 ratio of flour to water, trace yeast) (Wetter = more lactic acid)

Biga (~30% of total flour, at a flour/water ratio close to that of the complete recipe) (Drier = more acetic acid)

Pate Fermentee “Old Bread”

Per RLB Bread Bible:  40-55F for acetic acid (vinegar) and 55-90F for lactic acid. According to the Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens acetic acid stays the same in either range but lactic acid increases with temperature increase.

Lower hydration for acetic acid, higher for lactic acid.

Part Three:  Stretch and Fold, How and why to Slash a Dough, Steaming

How and why to stretch and fold vs “punching down”.

  • Distribute and Degas
  • Improve gluten structure
  • Multiple stretch and fold during bulk rise

Part Four:  Handling Dough — Bread Sticks, Crackers, Pizza Dough, Focaccia, Sandwich Bread

Crispy Breadsticks vs Chewy Breadsticks.

Part Five:  Resources

A look at the books.