Here are the keys to Mr. Ruhlman’s Ratio– you need a scale, the formulas, and you can learn how the ratios work, WITH PRACTICE. Here is my result from my Friday night after work bread effort. The loaf is not beautifully formed, but I did get a little oven spring that I wasn’t expecting, so all the better.
This is the basic bread dough described in the first chapter, with part whole wheat, part all-purpose flour.
The ratio is 5:3 flour:liquid, plus some salt and some yeast (2 tsp. and 1 tsp., respectively, for the 20 oz of flour (16 white, 4 whole wheat, a 4:1 ratio, of course) and 12 oz of water.
My scale is an OXO, from Target, which has a 5lb. limit, and cost about $30. Others are recommended by Mr. Ruhlman, and by America’s Test Kitchen (the OXO 11lb. scale for $50), but this one was easily available, and works fine.
Mr. Ruhlman’s Basic Ratio Bread
- mixer with dough hook
- loaf pan
- bowl for mixer
- measuring cups (liquid and dry)
- measuring spoons
- flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
- Put bowl on scale. Zero the scale (tare) to subtract the bowl’s weight.
- Add flour until you reach the right weight. Zero the scale again.
- Add water until you reach the right weight. (Water is actually volume/weight equivalent in ounce measurement, so this was 1.5 cups – “A pint’s a pound the world around”)
- Add 2 tsp. salt (for flavor), and 1 tsp. yeast (I used SAF instant).
- Mix with mixer, knead with dough hook for 10 mins plus or minus.
- Let rise in warm place, covered, until doubled.
- Deflate, shape, put in loaf pan, let rise again.
- Bake until internal temp is 200 degrees F. (I baked this at 375 degrees F for about 45 min.)
Here are the process photos I remembered to take (though I missed the excitement of measuring, which is quite fun with the big digital readout):
Yes, I have read the owner’s manual on this one, and I dutifully kept the mixer on 2 for the kneading process. I think it went for about 12 minutes.
I covered it with plastic wrap, and set it inside the oven, which I’d let heat for 5 min. at about 185 degrees, then turned the oven off.
(Snacks and chatting with DH in between here)
I didn’t watch the clock for how long this was, but I’d guess about an hour and a half. I formed the loaf and put it in a standard loaf pan, and let it rise again, for another amount of time.
(DH and I agonize through Friday NY Times crossword puzzle. Really, it’s fun.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, pop in the loaf, and about 45 minutes later, here’s the result:
I expect I will need to be a little more concentrated when I work on other batters/doughs (I’m hoping the basic cookie recipe will help change my bad cookie karma), but I can see myself making this bread weekly, or at least some variation of it. Thanks to Mr. Ruhlman, and Mr. Del Grosso for their fine work.