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Beard on Bread - recipe accuracy?

Gooseberry | Apr 22, 2008 01:08 PM

I've finally got my hands on a copy of James Beard's "Beard on Bread". I love the look of a lot of the recipes, because he offers a lot of loaves suitable for sandwiches, but at a glance I'm concerned about the accuracy of some of the ingredients. I work in metric, and I prefer to weigh all my ingredients in bread baking, and after converting a couple recipes to metric weights, it confirmed to me that a lot of the recipes are way off what I consider normal parameters for bread baking and baker's percentages.

He gives quantities of yeast which are hard to believe (.75oz of fresh yeast for 15.2oz of bread flour!), as well as weights in the conversion which seem a bit iffy. For example,one medium loaf contains .5oz of salt (double what I usually use). And 1 cup wholemeal flour weighs 110g (3.88oz). No matter how I scoop, my cups are at LEAST twice that.

In addition, my copy is a British edition from the 70s which gives US to UK conversions in a conversion chart, from US cups to UK cups, but doesn't specify which the recipes are measured in!

In the end, I made two loaves of "Myrtle Allen's Brown Bread" from the book - one loaf according to Beard's instructions (only with less salt), and one more in line with the baker's percentages I'm used to. They're cooling on a rack overnight, and I'll slice them open tomorrow and see what's up.

In the mean time, I thought I'd ask here - have you baked with this book, and have you had similar experiences to me? And which of the recipes do you recommend?


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