One part of water to three of flour, or one cup to three of flour for a loaf, is an average proportion. The practiced bread maker will vary this slightly to suit the variations in the flour from time to time, but it is a safe rule for the beginner to follow. Winter wheat flour requires somewhat more water than the spring wheat, or the blend of the two. Salt should be used sparingly, for although it improves the flavor of the loaf, salt is a preservative which retards or prevents the growth of lower organisms, and in the case of bread it acts therefore as a check to fermentation. One teaspoonful to a loaf is the largest amount that it is best to use.

The quantity of yeast depends upon several conditions. The larger the amount of yeast used, the shorter is the time of rising, and as many as two compressed yeast cakes may be used to one loaf if it is necessary to hasten the process, without any perceptible effect on the color, texture or flavor. If a very large amount of yeast is used, the bread is "crumbly," and a difference in flavor will be noticed. A smaller amount may be used if time is allowed for the rising, even § cake of compressed yeast to a loaf, if the bread is to rise over night in warm weather. It must be remembered that, if the rising process is too prolonged, other organisms have a chance to work, and the bread may sour.

A small amount of sugar hastens fermentation, and from one to two teaspoonfuls to a loaf may be used. Many people prefer the flavor of bread with no sugar, however. Some bakers use malt extract both as a yeast food to hasten fermentation and for its effect upon the flavor.

Courtesy of the Dept. of Foods and Cookery, Teachers College.

Courtesy of the Dept. of Foods and Cookery, Teachers College.

Fig. 55. - A few loaves of bread.

Fat, or shortening, should be sparingly used, not more than one or two teaspoonfuls being allowed to a loaf. If you study a number of bread recipes, you will see that this ingredient varies more than the others. As a matter of fact, if the flour is of good quality and the bread well made, this ingredient is not necessary (in loaf bread at least), although it seems to improve the quality of biscuit and rolls.