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mdt
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I think it can provide very good fundamentals, and is my go-to for a lot of basics, but it doesn't really give the reader a "next step." I bet there are plenty of people who end up making every bread with a 3:5 water:flour ratio, not realizing that depending on the flour, weather, and desired product (i.e. bagel vs. ciabatta) that 3:5 may be far too wet or dry.

I also wish he would have used bakers' percentages rather than ratios. They're even easier. "I dumped in 545g of flour, so I need 60% of that (i.e. 3:5) in water... 545 times 0.6 is.... 327g!" As opposed to, "Okay, 545g... uh, do I multiply that by 3 or 5? Wait, neither... five divided by three is 1.66666 repeating, that doesn't seem right. Okay, let me think... how did we do it in math class? Okay, put the fraction side by side, multiply the denominator by the other numerator, divide... okay, 3 times 545 is 1635, divide that by 5.... 327g!"

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I think it can provide very good fundamentals, and is my go-to for a lot of basics, but it doesn't really give the reader a "next step." I bet there are plenty of people who end up making every bread with a 3:5 water:flour ratio, not realizing that depending on the flour, weather, and desired product (i.e. bagel vs. ciabatta) that 3:5 may be far too wet or dry.

I also wish he would have used bakers' percentages rather than ratios. They're even easier. "I dumped in 545g of flour, so I need 60% of that (i.e. 3:5) in water... 545 times 0.6 is.... 327g!" As opposed to, "Okay, 545g... uh, do I multiply that by 3 or 5? Wait, neither... five divided by three is 1.66666 repeating, that doesn't seem right. Okay, let me think... how did we do it in math class? Okay, put the fraction side by side, multiply the denominator by the other numerator, divide... okay, 3 times 545 is 1635, divide that by 5.... 327g!"

The book is not intended to give the "next step". Ruhlman states "This is important: my aim isn't to make the perfect bread or pasta or mayonnaise or biscuits---"the best I've ever had." It's to set a baseline to work from, to codify the fundamentals from which we work and which we work off of."

Sure you can easily come up with a 'difficult' ratio problem, but why not just use 500g and 300g so there is no need for complex math? I believe that he mentions that flour can be more or less hydrated and that you will learn what is the proper consistency. Again these are starting points, not to mention that the ratios were derived from folks with some experience.

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