Discover The Secrets Of High-Quality Home Baking With Flour Water Salt Yeast
Baking amazing, high-quality bread at home is totally possible, you don’t have to be a professional or go on holiday to France!
With Ken Forkish’s book ‘Flour Water Salt Yeast’ you can learn the methods necessary to make delicious, complex artisan breads.
In the book, Ken will walk you through the principles and equipment needed for making great tasting bread in the comfort of your own kitchen.
You’ll also discover invaluable tips such as two secret ingredients that are used in every recipe and why measuring by volume is not recommended.
Finally, you’ll get instructions for creating your very own levain culture (a sourdough starter) and specific methods for making types of bread, pizza or focaccia.
In no time at all you’ll be whipping up delicious loaves of homemade artisanal quality bread just like a pro!
Ken Forkish: From Tech To Baking With An Obsessive Focus On Detail
Ken Forkish left his career in the tech industry to pursue his passion of becoming a baker.
He set out to master the art of traditional bread making, joining the Bread Bakers Guild of America and taking baking classes at the San Francisco Baking Institute.
Forkish started Ken’s Artisan Bakery in Portland, Oregon where he puts his attention to detail and passion for baking into practice.
Thanks to his knowledge and craftsmanship in bread making, his bakery is still thriving; it recently expanded into a pizza place as well!
Ken Forkish’s success serves as an inspiring example that anything is possible if you have dedication and perseverance.
Becoming a great baker takes more than just following a recipe – it can take years of practice, study and precision.
With this commitment, though, anyone can become an artisanal baker like Ken Forkish!
The Key To Making Great Bread Is Balancing Time, Temperature, Flour, Water, And Yeast
When looking at the different ways one can make bread, there are few important principles that you’ll need to understand to ensure a perfect loaf of bread.
The two most important principles are time and temperature.
The reason why these principles are so important is because they have an inverse relationship: the higher the temperature, the less time needed to make your bread.
Having said that, the type of flour used should also be taken into account when making breads.
You can stick with white flour for simpler loaves, or mix in whole wheat flour for more complex ones.
Additionally, adding more water to a dough will result in more gas production which means a light texture and a richer flavor – bear in mind that since whole wheat flour is more absorbent it will require more water when added to your mixture.
Furthermore, yeast can contribute to either fast or slow-rising doughs depending on what technique you decide to use and how much yeast you’re adding – you can add less yeast and simply give it more time but this will ultimately yield a richer flavor.
Home Kitchens Can Achieve Great Quality With The Right Tools
If you’re looking to make high-quality, delicious bread at home, then you’ll need some specialized equipment.
Ken’s Artisan Bakery may have a 1,200-square foot open kitchen, a 15,000 pound Italian oven and all the professional kit he needs – but we’re working with smaller tools here.
To start with, you’ll need an oven which can reach rather large temperatures – it should be able to reach around 1000°F (538°C).
At the very least, you should also have an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is correct.
You’ll also need a baking stone or Dutch oven for baking your breads in – four quarts is ideal for this.
Then there are other essential pieces of equipment; such as a digital Kitchen scale for accurate measurements, proofing baskets for letting dough rise and probe thermometers for ensuring that your water has reached the right temperature.
Oven mitts and tea towels will also come in handy while making these baked goods!
Create Your Own Complex, Distinctive Yeast Cultures With Poolish, Biga And Levain For Home Baking
When it comes to taking your bread-baking skills to the next level, pre-ferments and levain baking are a great place to start.
Pre-ferments are mixtures of dough that you make one night before baking and contain only a tiny amount of commercial yeast.
This allows them to develop slowly overnight, which produces a more complex flavor profile than if you were just using regular commercial yeast.
Levain, or sourdough starter, is another way to get complex flavors in your baking.
It’s created by capturing the natural yeast that’s found in the air, soil and fruit we eat everyday and coaxing it into a form where it can be used as an ingredient.
This type of yeast is ideal for creating distinctive, multi-faceted flavors in your bake goods.
Additionally, most professional bakers – like Forkish – often add a small amount of commercial yeast alongside their own levain culture on the day of the bake for even better results!
Though making your own levain or pre-ferment may seem daunting at first, it’s easier than you think!
All that is needed for either one is flour and water.
Plus, with these techniques at your disposal, you can take any basic bread recipe and turn it into something truly extraordinary!
How To Make Bread At Home: A Simple Step-By-Step Guide
Making bread at home takes time, but the end result is worth it.
Although there are many ways to create dough and adapt the breadmaking process, there is an essential core method that one should stick to for a perfect loaf of bread.
The first step of this method is called autolysis.
To start, you need 800-1000g flour in your desired mix, and 75 percent of that (750-600g) warm water (90°F or 32°C).
Mix the two together with one sticky hand, then cover and leave alone for 20-30 minutes so that the flour can absorb all the water.
If you’re using pre-ferment method such as poolish or biga, then don’t autolyse – just add additional yeast during the next step.
Step 2: Mixing.
Add 20-22g salt to the dough mix, and depending on what method you’re using select your own amount of yeast: 0.8g going overnighted levain route or 3-4g if making it normally; plus 2-3g if adding poolish or biga; 2g extra if incorporating a sourdough starter (levain).
Then fold everything in with a pincer technique by griping big pieces with thumb and forefinger – which will give your dough some tension when needed.
Cover again and let rest and rise for 5 hours – or longer if not using much yeast & letting it ferment over night.
Bake The Perfect Loaf With These Six-Easy Steps – Step By Step Guide To Bread Making
Making bread is easy when you have the right method and all of the ingredients.
Part 2 of Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish teaches us how to use folding, proofing and baking techniques that make amazing bread every single time.
First up is folding; this helps to add extra strength and structure to the dough while it rests.
Simply reach into your mix and fold it over on itself several times until it’s shaped like a ball.
Make sure to do all of your folding within the first few hours of rise time.
Next, prepare the dough for proofing so that it is ready for baking.
When your rise time has passed, gently remove the dough from its tub and cut into two pieces if needed before delicately forming each piece into a ball which can then be placed in floured proofing bowl and covered with a kitchen towel.
If you’re using instant yeast, aim for about an hour proofing time – or leave overnight for pure levain mixes (which needs more than four hours at room temperature).
Determining when our loaf is ready calls for a simple poked test; lightly press with your finger and if it springs back (but not completely) it means that our loaf is ready!
Make Stellar Bread With A Levain Culture, Just Follow These 5 Easy Steps
Making a levain culture can seem intimidating, but once mastered it’s an achievable process that doesn’t require too much upkeep.
Plus, it can produce amazing bread over and over!
As outlined in Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish, here’s how you can create your own levain culture from scratch.
Day 1 – Begin by combining equal weights of flour and warm water – say 500g each – and mixing it together in a small tub.
Leave the mixture uncovered for a few hours and then cover before leaving in a fairly warm spot overnight.
Any variety of flour will do, including whole-grain rye as used by Forkish himself.
Day 2 – In the morning discard three quarters of the mix and add the same amount of flour and water as on Day 1.
Mix again and leave covered for another hour or two.
Unleash Your Creativity And Find Your Signature Style With Baking
When baking bread, there are various types of loaves you can make.
If you’re short on time and want a loaf ready quicker, you can use the Straight Doughs with Commercial Yeast method.
This process will only take five hours for resting and about an hour for proofing.
To switch it up, experiment with the amount of whole wheat flour and decrease the yeast for a longer resting period in the refrigerator overnight.
If you have more time, you can also try Pre-ferments which will take up to 14 hours or Levains mixed with Commercial Yeast, the latter requiring you to begin work a day before baking.
For either pre-ferment option, once added to fish, salt, water and more yeast they need around five hours to rise before proofing overnight in the refrigerator.
To finish off, Pure Levains require a similar method but no commercial yeast; instead let your mix ferment overnight before proofing it for four hours prior to baking!
There’s plenty of room to play around and get creative: special additions like caramelized walnuts or bran encrustation can be unique touches that make your loaf signature style!
Make The Most Of Your Flour By Turning Dough Into Delicious Pizzas And Focaccia
Making pizza and focaccia from scratch is easier than you think with Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish.
Once you’ve divided the dough, it’s time to form it into a ball and allow it to proof for up to an hour.
It can then be chilled in the refrigerator to make it easier to shape into a thin pizza base.
For pizza toppings, you’ll want quality tinned tomatoes, mozzarella and basil – but feel free to experiment with any topping that takes your fancy!
Then get the oven as hot as possible (experimenting with the broiler setting) before placing your masterpiece in there for less than ten minutes.
Focaccia is a bit different – slightly thicker and with more varied toppings.
It’s best cooked on a cast-iron skillet or sheet pan and won’t need the same level of heat that pizza does.
Again, let your imagination run wild when thinking about toppings – olive oil and salt are staples, but anything goes really.
At the core of Flour Water Salt Yeast is Ken Forkish’s unique take on breadmaking.
He explains that with the right equipment and approach, it is not only possible to make delicious loaves of bread but also to excel in baking without a professional kitchen.
To get started, he recommends getting a Dutch oven as it is essential to achieving the quality textures for which Forkish is known.
Once you have all the items you need, it’s time to bake.
Most importantly, though, be sure to properly understand his method before tackling any recipes.
This book provides readers with an in-depth look into Forkish’s tried and true methods alongside actionable advice so they can bake their own mouthwatering loaves of bread at home.