The single most important piece of equipment you need to guarantee consistent baking results is a digital kitchen scale. Measuring cups do vary, and one cup of flour scooped out of the bag by one person will not be the same as that scooped by another. Flour density varies by the mill, too, so it is vital that your flour and water are weighed accurately.
- A cup of flour weighs 4.5 ounces, period;
- A cup of water, 8 oz.
- For home baking, it is impractical to weigh very small amounts, ½ teaspoon, for example, so these amounts are given by volume here.
Like instant-read thermometers, scales can be either reasonable or expensive, depending on display speed and the upper limits they can weigh. Be certain to buy one you can “tare,” that is set to zero, to take the weight of the container out of the equation. If you are using two types of flour in one batch, say 10 ounces of bread flour and 10 ounces of all-purpose, you can set your bowl on the scale, tare it to zero, add the first ten ounces, tare it to zero, then add the second amount. It really takes the guesswork and the error-prone math out of measurement.
Salter scales are a popular brand. Despite its size, this electronic Salter scale can weigh up to 11 pounds of flour. Arranged on it are four bread blades. The two at the bottom are curved for angled cuts on boule and baguette. The two at the top are straight blades meant for downward cuts on such things as Italian bread.
The next section discusses Basic Bread Techniques and Bread Kneading.Back Forward