I have learned a lot over the last 2 weeks about making bricks err I mean making bread. I have made cakes where the recipe calls for sifting the flour. And I have made a bunch of off the shelf box cakes. For a while there I made jumbo muffins almost every other day I did give most of them away, but I made every conceivable kind all jumbos because that’s the only muffin cupcake pans I have in my kitchen and I have made cuppercakes. Yes, I know I spelled it wrong however, my stepdaughter who I adore called them that when she was young, and the name just sticks with me so cuppercakes are the name I call them to this day.
But back to the bricks the loaves, were heavy dense the crust was thick tough and well the bread was terrible. You see I was doing it all wrong, First the measuring cups I went to great lengths at the time to go to a commercial restaurant supply store and buy the tools that commercial kitchens use, measuring cups, spoons, scales, pots, pans, cutting board, you name it I got it. I even bought Cambro plastic 8 and 4-quart storage bins with lids to store flour and other stuff.
I am a pretty good cook when it comes to regular things meat, fish, veggies, rice, and pasta dishes. And I used to be damn good at bar-b-que-ing, until I moved into an apartment that won’t allow it, so I don’t do that anymore.
Now comes to Baking. Cookies and muffins of all types no problem. I make some Buttermilk biscuits, you will drool over, I even made a recipe for one serving they are yummy.
So here goes Baking Bricks what I was doing to make the bricks.
The flour I would plunge the 1-cup measure into the flour pack it TIGHT and level it off and repeat until I had the or thought I had the required amount. Actually the 6-7 cups of packed flour were around 9 cups. Hell, I was flowing the recipe or so I thunk I was.
Salt: I used Kosher salt, not table salt, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt by weight (11 grams) is about ⅓ – ½ the weight of table salt (18-21 grams) depending on grain size, what the total amount of salt that was needed in this recipe.
Sugar well I measured it with the measuring spoon and of course it was lacking by about 10%
Water: I used what the recipe called for. Of course, with all the extra bread flour and the same amount of water for a whole lot less flour the dough was dry, almost desert dry. Wow! Folks shall I go on and show you what a total idiot I have been in making my bricks err bread.
I was lurking around the King Arthur website and stumbled into their Learn center. There were two sections I became very interested in, the first was weights volumes of foods. The second was how to measure flour. I read the how to measure flour and a bolt of dumb ass hit me between the eyes. If a bolt of brilliance had hit me between the eyes I would have gone to the bakery and bought a loaf of bread. I said to myself I know what’s wrong with my bricks, well I think I do anyway. And then I printed out the food weight and volume chart. And headed off to my kitchen, to do some experimentation.
The one cup measures, I have several of them they don’t measure 1 cup at all. King Arthur suggests measuring the flour accurately, first fluff the flour, second sprinkle it in the measuring cup, third level it off and finally dump it your bowl I was going to do all of this but add one final step which was weigh it. I weighed it in grams easier to compare one measuring cup to another cup. I was using the same flour in each test, so the moisture content would be the same the volume would be same, and the only variable would be the volume of the 1-cup measure, so the weights should all be the same. One cup bread flour 120 grams
The first measuring cup fluffed flour leveled off weighed on the scale 150 grams
150 grams-120 grams=30 grams over each of 7 cups in a recipe is 210 grams or 1-3/4 cups extra flour if done the Correct way with my measuring cups so my bread would have still been a brick. This was using MY measuring Cups I cannot say what your measuring cups will measure.
I will be converting all my baking recipes to weight using grams the reason for grams it is in whole numbers and easier for my brain to process. I will even weigh the liquids. I can add up the weight of all the liquids and then put them in a container on the scale or dissolve them in warm water. Of course, an egg is an egg is an egg don’t need to weigh it, but a large egg usually weighs 60 grams total weight around 11% shell, 58% whites, and 31% yolks.
I am not a perfectionist I just like to eat good food. I just made 2 loaves of white bread measuring the weight of each ingredient, they are in the oven. I will see how they turn out and will post the pics above.
I baked these loaves for 27 minutes at 450° f on the middle rack in the oven.
I brushed them with butter to soften the crust. I hope they turn out to be bread and not bricks, wish me luck.
Oh, just a note My measuring cups 2 sets now reside in the trash one set remains to use as scoops. One set of measuring spoons remain the others were trashed as well. I don’t really measure when I cook I taste, a little of this spice and a little of that spice.