The basics of a white dough

How much of each of those ingredients go into a bread? And why?

400g of flour

The most significant ingredient is flour, so pick an amount. Well, most of my loaves of bread start with either 400g or 500g of flour.

250g of water

Next is water. How much water goes into bread? Well, it depends. You could start adding about 60 or 70% (= “hydration”.)

Sixty% of 400g is 240g, and so forth.

60%  240g
65%  250g
70%  280g
75%  300g
80%  320g

Sixty % of 500g is 300g, and so forth.

60%  300g
65%  325g
70%  350g

etc.

Any of those amounts are possible. The more water you add, the softer the bread gets, and you get more air bubbles, which are essential for Instagram. So you could argue the more, the better. However, the wetter the dough, the more difficult it is to manage. A wet dough will stick to your hands and fingers and is a pain to work with, as long as you are not sure what you are doing. And if you don’t fold and shape the dough and if you don’t get the timings right, the bread will not spring up in the oven, but stay rather flat and wide.

So start somewhere safe, say 65% hydration for a year or two and start going higher.

Seven or 8g of Salt

Salt. Everything tastes better with Salt, that’s why we are adding it. But how much? Most old recipe books I found suggest about 10g for such amount flour. World health organisations recommend that about half of that would be a lot healthier. Which is probably correct, but does not taste very nice. So pick any number between 5 and 10; which is quite difficult to measure anyway.

A tablespoon or packet of dry yeast

Whatever you have: a packet if you bought a packet of packets, or a flat tablespoon if you bought a small can of loose yeast.

That’s it, the basics of a white dough.

400g.  flour            --or--  500g flour
250g.  water                    325g water
7/8g    Salt                    7/8g    Salt
one tbs yeast                   one tbs    yeast

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