Bread Ratio Recipe

I’m sure you’ve heard of Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. While I don’t have the book, I whole heartedly believe in ratio cooking and baking, especially after making the bread dough from the Serious Eats article on “The Making of the Momofuku Milk Bar Volcano.

The “recipe” I used, straight from the site: baguette dough comprised of 100 parts flour, 65 parts water and two parts salt with 1.5 percent yeast. The beauty of ratios is that you can consistently produce the same quality product whether you make 1 or 100.

The dough was soft, supple and super easy to work with. I made a couple of baguette-like loaves the next day, that’s how impressed I was with the flavour and crumb. I did make one huge mistake with these loaves though: I forgot to cover them during the second rise.

Covering your bread dough is of utmost importance: if you don’t cover it, a crust will form on the dough and stop your bread from rising properly. Plus covering your bread makes a nice little warm, moist environment for all the yeasties to grow.

Not covering my bread for the second rise made my loaves flat and un-scorable due to the crust that formed. Even so, toasted and slathered with jam, Nutella and mustard, they were super yummy. I’m really digging the whole ratio baking thing.

Bread Ratio Recipe

100 parts flour
65 parts warm water
2 parts salt
1.5 parts yeast

1. Sprinkle yeast on warm water.
2. Stir together salt and flour.
3. Make a well in the flour and pour in yeast and water mixture.
4. Stir flour and water together into a shaggy ball.
5. Knead by hand or in stand mixer until smooth and elastic.
6. Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover with saran wrap.
7. Place in a warm, draft-free spot and let rise for 5 hours.
8. Gently punch your bread down, shape, cover and let rise for another hour.
9. Heat oven to 375˚F.
10. Brush tops with egg wash or mist with water. Score with a sharp knife.
11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped with a wooden spoon.

21 Comments add yours

  1. Just a heads up, you wrote 100 parts water, 65 parts warm water in the recipe :)

    Angela,
    Thanks! I need to be more careful when proofreading!!!

    steph on March 15th, 2010 at 11:34 am
  2. I’m so curious, what is that green paste??

    Green mustard!

    steph on March 15th, 2010 at 11:36 am
    Ann Stella-Tayler on March 15, 2010 at 7:26 am
  3. It’s no coincidence that he wrote 100 parts flour, 65 parts water and not 20 parts flour, 13 parts water: Baker’s percentages are based on the flour being 100%, and the water/hydration being a percentage relative to the flour- in this case, 65%. It totally blew my mind the first time I read about this.

    The bread looks great by the way. Oh, and an oil sprayer works awesome for spraying plastic wrap to cover the bread.

    Daniel,
    Thanks for the tip about the plastic wrap. I always have problems with the bread sticking to it after the second rise, which is why I’ve been switching to cloths, but I find that clothes don’t give me as much of a rise.

    steph on March 16th, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Most bakeries use proofing bags, which are basically clear food safe garbage bags that are wrapped around the sheet tray/bagel board that the bread is being proofed on. This allows the bread to rise unhindered and still prevents a skin from forming. Make sure to generously dust the top of your loaves (excess can be brushed off later).

    Cool tip, sounds like it might work for me. Does the proofing bag touch the loaf or is there air trapped in it?

    steph on March 24th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    There is air inside, though the bag usually touches the loaf, it is never tight against it.

    I’ll have to give a bag a try next time I bake up a loaf. Thanks again!

    steph on March 25th, 2010 at 3:41 pm
    JM on March 24th, 2010 at 3:15 pm
    JM on March 23rd, 2010 at 6:31 pm
  4. I found the short bread recipe fun to play with for a while. I made something close to an Oreo cookie (the outside, not the filling) based on it.
    The pasta recipe works well too, although I recommend getting a pasta machine if you try to do an quantity. Using a rolling pin isn’t fun for long.

    Andy,
    A pasta machine is on my list of things to get!

    When you do,remember that you can make crackers with it too.

    Andy,
    Still haven’t tried homemade crackers, but it’s on my list!

    steph on March 18th, 2010 at 11:58 am
    Andy on March 17th, 2010 at 1:16 am
    steph on March 16th, 2010 at 11:56 am
  5. Your baguette-like loaves are very beautifully baked, yummm….

    Yeah, getting the right ratio will guarantee to have wonderful bread. I think all the delicious sauces, dishes we taste should have the right ratio of all ingredients blended in.

    Christine,
    Thanks! Your bread with the tangzhong looks fantastic!

    steph on March 16th, 2010 at 11:58 am
  6. I haven’t baked bread in a while but your post put me in the mood so I’m going to try your recipe tonight, wish me luck!

    Patty,
    Good luck! Hope your bread turns out fantastic!

    steph on March 18th, 2010 at 11:56 am
  7. By parts, do you mean weight/ So for instance 100g flour: 65g water etc.?

  8. Hi! By parts do you mean weight ratios? i.e 100 g flour to 65g water, etc.?

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