Saturday, March 28, 2015

HHHHHH: A Measure of Improvement

This post might be better labeled "confession" than "hint."  Longtime readers will know that I am that rare person who uses his bread machine regularly, currently a Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme.  I still use a recipe from one of my Breadman machines, modfied only with a substitution of 3/4 cup of white whole wheat flour (WWW) for an equal amount of white flour.  No one in our family really likes traditional whole wheat flour, but this small substitution adds a little nutrition and actually lends some nice structure to the basic sandwich bread we use all the time.

I've used the same recipe for years and worked out the ratio of using 3/4 cup WWW in a total amount of 3 cups of flour as the maximum amount of WWW without making the yeast fight to rise the loaf reliably.  For years, when getting out my ingredients and measuring devices, I would get out a one cup measure, a 1/4 cup measure and a 3/4 cup measure.  Now that 3/4 cup measure came from a set we got at the King Arthur Flour store on a pilgrimage to Norwich, VT, a sacred place for bakers.  In addition to the traditional 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup measures, our set includes a 2/3 cup and this 3/4 cup.  One doesn't know one needs those (or a 3/4 teaspoon) measure until one owns them.  Even owning this set for years, I left an opportunity for efficiency on the table (er...counter).  See, I would measure 2 cups of white with my 1 cup measure, then 1/4 cup of white, then 3/4 cup of WWW with that measure.  Any mathematicians shaking their heads yet?  

In the last few months, I figured out that I was replacing one part out of four with WWW.  That means I could do all my flour measuring with one measure - the 3/4.  Now, I fill that one three times with white flour and once with WWW.  There are multiple benefits:
  • It's faster to use one measure than three for the actual measuring step.
  • It keeps my counter cleaner to not put down two used measures (the other option of plunking them in the sink one by one always made me impatient).
  • I wash one cup measure instead of three.
 The strongest hint in this post is to acquire more finely-graded cup measures like this awesome-if-not-cheap set.  The other one we love is a 1/8 cup measure from another set.  While one doesn't see 1/8 cup in recipes much, one sees 2 tablespoons often, and 2 T = 1/8 C.  Boom!  Then, once you've acquired them, pay more attention than I did and find ways to cut down on the number of measures you have to use.


Karen Gorss said...

I am impressed that you wash a measuring cup that only measured flour. :-)

Teri said...

This is the answer when people whine, "Why do I need to learn algebra? I'll never use it in real life!"