The baker’s percentage

Last week was half term in the UK so the kids were off school. Kids love to bake cakes so much fun was had in the kitchen by all :).

I spent Saturday baking more sourdough. It is so good but I can only bake it at weekends because it is a long process :(. However the resulting bread is well worth it so if you haven’t tried it yet, please get a starter going and give it a go.

Today I want to share the recipe formula to which I work with all my breads. This is commonly known as the baker’s percentage and it is a good idea to commit this to memory. Don’t worry; soon the figures will be second nature.

The formula is:

Strong flour = 100%

Water = 60%

Salt = 2%

Yeast = 1%

To explain the above formula, take the weight of flour you are using as 100%. For ease, let’s say you are using 1kg of flour. This is the batch size I prefer as you can get two large or 3 small loaves from this size. Every other ingredient will be weighed as a percentage of 1kg.

In this case you will need 600ml of water. You can weigh the water if you wish (I do), as 1ml = 1g. You may need to use more water when working with wholemeal flour as it tends to absorb more water. You may need to go up to 65%, but start at 60% and then add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if required.

Weigh out 20g of salt for a batch this size.

Weigh out 10g yeast for a batch this size.

So for your basic 1kg batch of dough you will need:

Strong flour = 100% = 1kg

Water = 60% = 600ml

Salt = 2% = 20g

Yeast = 1% = 10g

If you stick to these percentages you can’t really go wrong and it makes it much easier to experiment. Just keep to these ratios and add some exciting ingredients such as olives, sun-dried tomatoes, fried onions, fresh herbs etc. and you will get great results every time plus you will get breads you won’t find in the shops! Knowing this formula really does give you the freedom and confidence to experiment so please memorise it.

Finally, just a quick update on my new guide to baking. It is pretty much finished now. I am just putting the final touches to it and adding some of my favourite recipes. This has been a real labour of love for me. If you are interested in getting a copy keep an eye out as I will be releasing it pretty soon. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it you can opt in to be notified here

And as the kids are back to school I can finally relax…!!!!

Baking stones

Well I finally got around to buying a couple of new baking stones last week and boy what a difference! I had forgotten how much difference baking on a stone makes. It is the nearest thing to creating the fierce heat from a wood fired oven in your kitchen.

Using a stone ensures that you get a great crispy base but more importantly you get a fantastic oven spring, far better than you can get on a baking sheet. I used them on Saturday to bake numerous pizzas with assorted toppings and the ones I used came with a metal stand so you could use them to serve the pizza straight from the oven whilst keeping the pizza warm. This went down really well with the kids!

You can get a great pizza stone here and here are a couple of good books for creating great pizza.

Pizza dough is easy to make and is so much better than shop bought. I tend to make mine with half strong flour and half plain flour or half semolina flour for a more authentic base.

On Sunday I baked some rolls – topped with cheese and a few topped with sesame seeds. They were so light and delicious!

I have to say that my baking stones have reinvigorated my passion for baking and if you don’t have one you really are missing out. So go on…treat yourself to one and you won’t regret it.