- Get a scale. They are not expensive, but really valuable! Measuring by volume varies widely depending on the person/method. If you look up conversions for volume vs weight, the standard is 120 grams flour per cup. But Cooks Illustrated tested this, and found most people end up putting 150 grams of flour in a cup. Here’s a conversion chart you can use until you get that scale.
- A digital thermometer helps too (see “Temperature” below).
- Instant yeast and active dry yeast are interchangeable – except it might take longer for the dough to double if you use active dry yeast. (Some sites will say you have to dissolve active dry yeast in water. This is not the case!) Although, many folks don’t want to skip the step of “blooming” the yeast in water, and perhaps a little sugar, because it’s a good way to test if your yeast is still active. On the other hand, rapid rise yeast is different Here’s a great article on the different yeasts.
- Salt is necessary – don’t skip it. A “lean” dough has only water and flour. If you don’t use the salt, it will not have much flavor. (Some sites say salt kills the yeast. This would only happen if you have an excessive amount of salt; the way yeast is manufactured now, it’s not the case).
- All-purpose flour can almost always be substituted for bread/strong flour. Vital wheat gluten is a handy little addition to doughs that are mostly whole wheat or rye, to encourage a better rise. And, if you can’t find high protien flour flour (good for bagels), use this chart to calculate how much vital wheat gluten you should add according to the protien weight of your bread flour.