My mom taught me how to measure the small stuff like salt and other things that go in bread by hand. She taught me how to use the palm and it really works. It might not be perfect, but I call it fudging a recipe and I can still make breads that taste good. I've been retired for 10 years now but I'm glad to be back on a bigger scale and ready to build the outside oven in the spring. Remember dry things are measured in regular measuring devices and wet things are measured in liquid measuring devices. I hope others chime in to say I'm right or wrong. Just my 2 cents about measuring. Geno
I don't measure anything when I make bread, nothing at all. I add my yeast to a little water or milk with a smidge of sugar (the yeast comes in 50g blocks so that is the base) once it's nice and fizzy I add whatever I am making the bread from, so any flours, purees etc. then I put it onto the stand mixer and start to add liquid until the dough comes up to the consistency I want. If I'm using potato I make the dough very very dry, the longer it is worked the wetter it gets, making it to the correct consistency first means it will be way to wet when finished. Then the thing is mixed for about 4 minutes just enough to get everything incorporated. Then add salt, which is just shaken out of the packet. The mass is then mixed for 10 minutes or sometimes more. rested and baked.
I use 1 packet of yeast for 1,2 or even 4 loaves with less yeast it just takes longer to rise.
When I make sourdough it is similar, a few spoons of starter and then any flours and grains go into a bowl with plenty of water, left overnight then dried out to the right consistency with more flour, proved and baked.
I do not ever measure by volume I use a scales, but I only use that for cakes, cakes care about measurements bread doesn't.
I think the measures listed in a (yeast bread) recipe are useful for giving you an idea of the proportions of things. But the real criteria is the texture. A good recipe will tell you what the dough should look and feel like at different stages, and once you've made it a few times you will start to realize on your own if the mix is right.
It's harder with "quick" bread, because you are dealing with small amounts of chemicals and a process that does not leave much room for adjusting.
Weeds are just plants with enough surplus will to live to withstand normal levels of gardening!--Alexandra Petri
I'll admit, I do use a scale when I make sourdough (that's how I was taught by a local DIY/homestead-y baker at a workshop a number of years ago), but I also adapt based on my starter and my dough. I'm always looking for the right consistency over the exact measurements! I've never been very good at baking yeast-based quick breads though... I don't like how mine have turned out in the past, so when I got in to making sourdough I quit trying. Maybe something to attempt again!
- Julia -
Written from Treaty 1 Territory, the Traditional Lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the Homeland of the Métis Nation.