We’ve found a few errors in Bread Science. These are listed below. We’ve corrected most of them in the second and third printings; look for the words “Second printing 2009” or “Third printing 2017” on the copyright page of your book to tell which version you have.
I’ve gathered additional information about some topics; these have not been altered in the second and third printings. I’ve shared that information on an “Updates” page, here (under construction).
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On page 139 (first printing only). The two pictures are backwards, i.e., the under-kneaded dough is the one with holes in it, and the well-kneaded dough is the one that is smooth and not ripping. Thanks to Bruno Sorrentino for his vigilant reading!
There are also switched pictures on the very bottom of page 163 (first printing only). The hand using the friction of the table to tighten the dough is on the left, while the hands tightening the dough are on the right. Thanks to Dave Glaze for pointing this out.
On page 111 (first printing only), the temperature of 25 degrees Celsius is converted to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature should actually be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or about 4.5 degrees Celsius—a cold temperature. (Thanks to alert reader Stan Matthews who pointed out that the cooler temperature is correct!)
On page 114, I state that a starter’s flavor reaches a stable point after about 9 months. A reader pointed out that this occurs with a daily feeding schedule. If you are feeding your starter weekly (as most home bakers do), it may take longer—his took 18 to 24 months. (My apologies, I can’t remember who told me this.)
On page 204 (first printing only), there is a mysterious question mark at the end of the first paragraph (? cup). This should read “7/8 cup.”
On page 212 (first printing only), there is a missing space in the recipe—the amount of whole wheat flour is 1 2/3 cups (i.e., one and two-thirds cups), not 12/3 (twelve-thirds) cups.
On page 235 (first and second printings only), I give the conversion factor for water as 1 cup = 0.224 kg. I don’t know what I was thinking! (Somehow I used 28 grams per fluid ounce—maybe I used the “imperial ml” instead of the U.S. mL?) There are 29.57 U.S. mL in 1 fluid ounce, and the density of water is 1 gram per mL, making the correct conversion factor 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces = 0.237 kg. (Thanks to alert reader Jim Hicken for pointing this out!)
This results in a slight decrease in the water *volumes* given in the recipes (all printings), but remember that the volume measures are all slightly approximated anyway, as they are rounded to the nearest quarter cup, and you should be feeling your dough to achieve the right consistency (soft and flexible without being sticky, unless you’re making a wet dough like ciabatta).
On page 21 (first and second printings), I describe active dry yeast as “almost totally dried” and instant yeast as “partly dried.” I guess this seemed like a logical assumption, but I heard a talk on yeast by Dominique Homo from LeSaffre who said that instant yeast is actually drier than active dry; it is a difference in the drying process that protects the yeast cells from dying in instant yeast (the instant yeast is “rapidly dried”). Also, while on the subject of yeast… since writing Bread Science, I’ve become less hesitant to tell students that they don’t need to activate active dry yeast. However, I’ve also realized that I ALWAYS use an autolease when I make bread, and it might be that the yeast becomes activated during this rest period, and that’s why I’ve never had a problem. For the complete notes from Dominique’s talk, see the post on my blog:
Alert reader Spencer Leong pointed out to me that stronger and softer doughs require different treatments during shaping. I describe degassing dough during shaping by smacking it to get all the gas out. With a softer French dough, you would not want to flatten the dough totally—you want some gas left in there, contributing to the final holey internal structure. The odd thing is, my original manual (written as a class manual), which turned into this whole book endeavor, actually had a page about this–how to treat a softer dough when shaping. I thought I had included it in the book, but somewhere along the way it must have disappeared! Thanks, Spencer!
On page 108 (all printings), I describe making preferments in a plastic container, to avoid using metal. Since writing the book, I’ve become less trusting of plastic, given the continual discovery of new potentially toxic chemicals in some plastics. I still make poolishes in BPA-free Rubbermaid containers, but I keep my sourdough starter in a glass bowl.
On page 198 (all printings), I wrote “the enzymes facilitating these reactions are killed.” Enzymes are not actually living things, so this would be better stated as “the enzymes facilitating these reactions stop working.”