So baker percentage is an easy way to see your baking ratio – that is except for math illiterates like me but King Arthur flour has a good math website. The WildYeast website also has even a four-part tutorial if you want to go a bit deeper. The ratio is flour based so water, salt and starter are in percentage of flour. Which makes sense really as flour is always the main ingredient. For example –
Are baker percentage intrinsic to baking bread? No, but they are great if you want to quickly and precisely calculate batches and ingredients. There is a really long discussion with lots of comment on the fresh loaf about this (it does get wonky and even a little snippy). The weekend bakery also has a dough calculator to make it easy for you.
Another use for baker percentage is too quickly and easily compare recipes by its ingredients. For example, what is the best hydration for a plain boule to get the best crumb? I have tested 70% all the way down to 45% water to flour ratio. Ie from my excel workbook –
I found that for the best hydration ration is around 50%-60%. Over 60% the boule doesn’t keep its shape is more ciabatta. Under 55% you don’t really get an\y nice bubbly holes. It is easy too quickly draw up a table and easy to set up on an excel workbook.
Anyways you don’t have to use it but it is a helpful tool for bread making and general baking because both rely so much on precise ratios.
Gotten slightly obsessed with polenta this week for some reason. Maybe its spring and the weather turning around, and polenta is light but comforting. Anyways the perfectloaf, which is a fantastic and beautiful little website, has the most amazing but slightly intimidating bread recipes. I took inspiration from its great rosemary and polenta bread post. They also have a great pizza dough recipe that looks marvellous but bit too complicated for me at the moment.
Anyways had some leftover polenta for dinner and guessed what happens to leftover/ food going off? Bread time!
It’s not bad, quite enjoyed it toasted with a bit of butter and blackberry jam. Decent airy-ness as well as good crumb and texture.
Quick note – this recipe uses cooked polenta. Here is Felicity Cloaks polenta recipe as part of her how to make the perfect…. column. I am not going to lie to you, polenta is a bit of a faff to cook. I have used uncooked polenta in the past to bake bread, but I think the polenta doesn’t quite cook through. The bread ends up a bit gritty from what I remember.
Recipe makes 2 medium boules
550g white bread flour
250g wholemeal flour
180 g cooked polenta
In a small cup add 10g of hot water and dissolve the salt. Leave to cool.
In a large bowl add water + milk+ the starter and mix to dissolve.
+ add all the flour + polenta+ rosemary+ the now tepid 10g salt water
Mix until combined
Cover with a plastic freezer bag and leave in the fridge for 20 hours.
Scoop out your dough on a clean floured surface and shape your dough. With the seams bottom down, push and rotate your shaped dough to really close the seams.
And leave the dough at room temperature for another 2 hours. Preheat the oven at 260C˚with the Dutch Oven inside. Leave the dutch oven for a least 30 min at 260C˚.
Slash the top and Bake at 260C˚ for about 35mins with the lid on. Take off the lid and lower the temperature to 230C˚ for another 15min.
Wonderful wonderful dukkah. Originally from Egypt, it is basically a topping made from nuts, spices and seeds. You can basically sprinkle it on just over about anything. It is delicious with ravioli or my comfort favourite, an easy cheesy toasty with avocado and bacon. Or let me tell you the magical marriage that this makes for breakfast when added to eggs, cooked tomatoes and bread. Or with roasted beetroot and feta, anyways I digress….
Nuts – any of these will do: hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, pine nuts, macadamia nuts
Dried herbs – marjoram, mint, thyme
Dried lemon zest
Hot pepper – red pepper flakes, chili powder
Pepper – freshly ground or whole peppercorns
Seeds – caraway, fennel, nigella
Spices – baharat, cinnamon, clove, turmeric
And anything you can really think of in terms of spices and seeds.
I unfortunately lost my old Dukkah recipe so here is my now new one.
75 grams sesame seeds
150 grams of nuts (I used hazel and almonds)
1 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp fenugreek
1 Tbsp Coriander
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp fennel
1 Tbsp caraway seed
Roast the nuts, and seeds separately.
Lightly grind the seeds and spices together. I use an electric grinder (i.e. my cleaned out coffee grinder) for less than a minute and separately grind the nuts. I also don’t grind the sesame seeds (this is a personal preference, it adds a bit more texture). Don’t over grind or it will just turn to paste.
Mix everything together and keep it in an airtight jar.
Enjoy! I have personally just given in to basically sprinkling it over just about everything. I think I might try a bit of cloves next time. As you can see it went into the celeriac and apple soup as well as the on some cheesy sourdough thyme bread toasty.