The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

High level of hydration

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samirhatem's picture
samirhatem

High level of hydration

Hello,

My question may be too novice... :)

I am doing some recipes that require a high level of hydration, but above 60 % the dough is really becomiing un-manageable; even when mixing in the Kenwood KM20, when it comes to handle it by hand it is not possible.

Is it just  a problem of skill? or is there somethign that I a missing? I am using strong bread flour (14 % gluten) produced by a local mill and used for bread production by quality companies....

I want to raise the hydration in order to improve the irregular hole pattern (i.e. have it more irregular)

Thank you

 

Samir

 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

is the most efficient and quick way for me. Lately I prepare bread with a 12% soft wheat flour using 70-75% hydratation. Yes, the dough initially is very slack, but using one hand to keep the bowl and another hand to take the dough and slam it repeatedly  in the bowl I get a very satisfying dough in 10-15 minutes. Even better if you let the dough develop alone with some 20-30 minutes of autolyse. Salt is better dissolved in water from the very start than added last.

Slamming the dough you transmit energy to the proteins, that is the reason why the method works. Moreover, as long as the dough is not yet developed the repeated extension of the mass oxygenates and oxydizes the protein bonds, another method to strenghten the dough.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

A very neat and efficient method by Nico, Sameer. Most of us here on TFL apply various approaches when handling wet doughs, but the essence of all the approaches is to extend the dough and relax it. Think of extension- relaxation as a muscle excercise, as gluten in a dough acts like a muscle. The more you input extension ( by pulling for example) , the stronger the dough becomes.

Some here slap anf fold (advocated by Richard bertinet, a famous baker)

Some air knead. Some simply autolyze, and then apply multiple stretch anf folds. Some do these methods in combination with a mixer. Choose the best method that suits you.

Btw, where do you live? 14% protein in alocal mill! Lucky chap!

samirhatem's picture
samirhatem

Thank you nico and mebake for the tips, next time I will persevere before adding flour!

 

I live in Beirut, and the "local mill" is actually one of the largest, that supplies large bakeries. I just contacted their sales team and they agreed to sell me a 25 kg bag. Well, they said it was 14 percent gluten, and the fact is that it is stronger than any flour i could buy in the supermarket. The hole pattern of my pain de campagne is now ok, still it could be better...

 

I am a home baker, passionate like everyone here, and thinking to go one step further. So far i have practised a lot at home, and relying on 4 books:

 

Baking with passsion by dan lepard

How baking works by Paula figoni

Crust and crumb by peter reinhart

The bread bakers apprentice by peter reinhart

I am willing to do a training in a european bakery, if anyone knows where to look :)

 

Thanks :)

 

Samir

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Excellent source for bread flour, Samir. I'd stay you stick with it.

Also, Nice collection of books to learn from. Show us some results of your Pain de Campaign :)

Khalid

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

should correspond at the very least to a percentage of 16% proteins. Does the crumb come out gummy or somewhat hard or chewy?

samirhatem's picture
samirhatem

Well, i would not say hard and chewy, but the dough holds itself better. They had a higher gluten content like 16 percent, but they said they reserved it for croissant dough that needs a lot of stretching

 

The first loaf i did was a bit chewy, but now am working with a sourdough starter and the loaves are fine, dunno if it is thanks to the sourdough

samirhatem's picture
samirhatem

Nico my mistake, actually it is not 14 percent gluten as i had stated, it is 14 percent proteins. I just realized that when i read my initial message

Grenage's picture
Grenage

I use a regular knead up to about 75% hydration; yes it's very sticky, and yes your hands get covered, but you can wash your hands and scrape the worksurface.  Stretch and folds also work fine with a scraper.

samirhatem's picture
samirhatem

Now am thinking that i am using a rather large quantity of sourdough preferment (it has 100 % hydration) so my recipe is like this

 

 

500 g preferment (100 %hydration)

500 g flour

240 g water

15 g salt

One spoon honey

So in principle it is 65 percent hydration, but maybe the sourdough is already overproofed and thus too "liquid" somehow?