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Stoid
01-07-2012, 09:13 PM
Those of us who bake know that it's both art AND science, and accurate measurement is crucial.

So is there some source for "baseline" measurements or ratios, like how much baking soda leavens how much flour, how much yeast, baking powder or how much liquid for how much flour for a cake vs. a muffin vs. bread, that sort of thing.

Baker
01-07-2012, 09:27 PM
Stoid, there may be baselines such as you are asking for. But so many answers in baking are "it depends on..."

When I'm working and someone asks how long does it take to bake the cinnamon rolls, or the dinner rolls, I have to answer "it depends" See, in our cafe it's the same dough, but the two items are shaped differently, sized differently and so on. And there may be other things in the oven, so it gets opened and closed.

I can give an answer in minutes that will be perhaps 80% accurate.

As to how much yeast, baking powder or soda to leaven a given item, it depends on what kind of flour even.

If you want to get into textbooks though, you might try Baking-Science and Technology. I have the two volume set, but it's thirty years old, there are probably newer editions. The author/editor of mine was E.J. Pyler, and was published by the Siebel Publishing Co. of Chicago, Illinois.

Surok
01-07-2012, 11:40 PM
You might want to take a look at Michael Ruhlman's Ratio (http://www.amazon.com/Ratio-Simple-Behind-Everyday-Cooking/dp/1416571728/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325993517&sr=8-1). He has a ratio chart (http://ruhlman.com/the-ratio-chart/) on his blog, but as he's selling it, it's not really readable. Might be worth looking at though, to see if it's the sort of thing you have in mind, before you invest in the book.

Athena
01-08-2012, 08:37 AM
You might want to take a look at Michael Ruhlman's Ratio (http://www.amazon.com/Ratio-Simple-Behind-Everyday-Cooking/dp/1416571728/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325993517&sr=8-1). He has a ratio chart (http://ruhlman.com/the-ratio-chart/) on his blog, but as he's selling it, it's not really readable. Might be worth looking at though, to see if it's the sort of thing you have in mind, before you invest in the book.

I'll second this. Ratio is exactly the book you're looking for.

He's also got iPhone/iPad apps that let you quickly see the ratios, if you're into that sort of thing.

Ferret Herder
01-08-2012, 09:49 AM
I own the book, and it's quite nice. Pages 3-85 are dedicated to things made with dough or batter, starting from the basic recipes of bread dough, pasta dough, pie dough, biscuit dough, cookie dough, pāte ą choux (light pastry dough), pound cake, sponge cake, angel food cake, "quick" cakes (quick bread, muffin, popover, fritters, etc.), and crepes. Each of those basic recipes starts with its own ratio of ingredients, and he gives you a main recipe for each, then variations, new recipes, etc.

The other chapters are Stocks (and how to thicken them), Farēir (sausages, etc.), Fat-Based Sauces, and Custards.

DoctorJ
01-08-2012, 02:25 PM
Another vote for Ratio. I collect cookbooks like a fiend, and that little volume is one of the very few that really changed the way I cook.

Ruhlman is one of the best food writers working today, and he's also very accessible via email and Twitter.

Jamicat
01-08-2012, 03:03 PM
Wow...I been trying to memorize this stuff in my head as I go. :rolleyes:

I knew there was a scientific ratio and proportion to basic stuff, but I made my own ratios by trial and error.

The thought of, just look it up in a book, kinda underwhelms me.

Part of the fun is experimentation. ;)

Ferret Herder
01-08-2012, 03:30 PM
Part of the fun is experimentation. ;)
The book gives the beginning or advanced cook some basics to work from, with lots of room for experimentation. Ruhlman is no "enemy" of fun or creativity, trust me.

And the prologue to the book is his discussion of how he collected a lot of these ratios from classic works and saw how they differed, and this is his interpretation and amalgamation of them.

Jamicat
01-08-2012, 03:35 PM
Yea, I went ahead and bought it...and a couple more unrelated books while I was there...strictly for the free shipping. ;)