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thanks for the link. you're a sweetie and your loaves look gorgeous.

the discovery of white whole-wheat flour is something isn't it? red whole-wheat flour does have that slightly bitter taste going on and for some reason always bakes up heavier.

the white whole wheat is more palatable to most people. try using it in a rustic slack italian loaf with a nice biga. . .

happy baking,


Mmm... that looks goooood! I have a bread machine that my boyfriend got me a while ago, but the loaves always come out with a super-thick, hard crust. More often than not, they're small loaves to boot.

ANYway... your site just shows us all the wonderful goodies a person can create from scratch... thanks so much for giving us a bit of imagination in the kitchen!

could you possibly post flour quantities in cups, for those of us who lack kitchen scales? i know there's no exact amounts you can give in breadmaking, but a range would help.

also, why the scrap dough and the poolish? what does one do that the other doesn't?

lemme just step in here long enough to say that making bread with volume measurements just leads to heartache in the long run.

weight measurements based on the baker's formula is the way to go.

i like french breads to be 65 to 68% hydrated by the baker's formula. that is, you use however much water equals 65% of the flour weight in the recipe.

for example, if your recipe uses (1 lb., 500 grams) 16 oz. flour, then for 65% hydration, you should use 10.4 oz water. because 10.4 is 65% of 16.

and don't add any more water or any more flour. keep to that total amount.

this is the way professionals make bread, and the results are amazingly superior. a good recipe for bread in fact is 65% hydration, 2% salt, 2% yeast.

the 2% is also based on the 16 oz. flour weight, which in this case would be about 1/3 oz. using this method, i can make as much bread or as little as i like, whether using 1,000 lbs flour or just 1.

baking by volume is just too inaccurate and often ends up creating dense, heavy, clunky bricks; not delicious, light bread.

investing the US$50 in a good electronic kitchen scale is the single best thing you can do to improve your bread, imvho.

as for the poolish, making that bit of dough up ahead of time and letting it ferment some in advance improves the flavor of the bread and its keeping quality.

again, this is a professional technique. the scrap dough is the remainder of the flour and water in the recipe needed to create the full loaf.

using a poolish and baking by weight is one reason that tiger's loaves are so cookbook-picture perfect. i'm sure they taste great too and keep without staling a fair amount of time!

Thanks -- you've done my work for me! Another element that the poolish contributes is making the dough more extensible; that is, helping to deveop the gluten. One advantage of using both a poolish and a scrap dough is that you can take advantage of the greater extensibility of the pre-ferment before the autolyse period (that resting period before you add salt and do the real kneading) and also take post-autolyse advantage of the extra-flavorful slow ferment you get in the salted scrap dough.

A good book with information on these strategies and useful recipes, too, is Artisan Baking Across America. The proportions and timing I used here are a variation on the Acme basic baguette recipe as it's given there.

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