The Fresh Loaf

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85+% WW hydration. Normal?

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Levin bred's picture
Levin bred

85+% WW hydration. Normal?

Hey guys,

My whole wheat doughs are very firm, even at high hydration, and I feel like I'm probably doing something wrong.

A simple loaf recipe will look something like:

500g KA whole wheat

350g water

50g skim milk

25-30g olive oil

Even at 85% the dough is quite firm and even french kneading is difficult.  I feel like I could easily french knead a dough of this type at 90% or more, in fact, I'm considering expeimenting with a 100% WW bread this weekend.  I know most people with AP or bread flour would consider even 75% to be slack.  Is this common for WW?  Should I autolyse overnight or make a preferment to loosen up the wheat?

 

Side note:  I'm just now cultivating my first sourdough starter, so maybe that will help things once it's ready.

annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

Hi Levin Bred

Yes, the WW flour can take up to even more than 100% of hydration, especially freshly milled WW flour.

Please visit PiPs's blog.  He is milling his own WW flour and made 100% hydration dough.  All breads he baked are superb!

Annie

Levin bred's picture
Levin bred

Thanks for the reply!  Do you have a link to the blog in reference?  I'd like to see some of these 100% breads!

annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

Please read barryvabeach's reply below.  He has included Phil's blog reference for you.

All the best with the baking this weekend.

Annie

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

only 80%.  Oil has no water in it so it is not included in hydration calcs.  Based on Phil's bake we have a 90% hydration 100% whole grain fresh milled bake today.  It could easily have handled 100% hydration no worries.  Fresh milled makes all the difference.  This 90% hydration bread felt like a 72% one. 

Levin bred's picture
Levin bred

Thanks for the info.  I figured if it was liquid it counted in the "hydration" column.  I'm going for a 90% this weekend woot woot!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

for the bread today.  It felt like 72% as the fresh milled flour really sucked up the water.  The bread was delicious anyway.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Levin Bread,   the link to his blog is here http://www.thefreshloaf.com/blog/pips   the whole wheat from home milled grain is about halfway down the page.   I am on a similar journey as you - trying to find the right hydration.   Tonight I made the preferment from Hamelman's   Baguette with Poolish -  I made one with bread flour, and then another with home ground wheat. I kept adding extra water to the wheat version to try to get it the consistency of the bread flour version.  I mill my wheat once a week and store it in the freezer, so it is colder and possibly drier than the bread flour, so it is hard to make direct comparisons, I did use warmer water for the whole wheat to try to get the end temps the same.  So far,  I used 100 grams of water for 100 grams of bread flour, and the wheat was 100 grams of wheat to 120 grams of water .  In addition to the differences in temp, I believe whole wheat takes more time to absorb the water than  bread flour, so I probably should have gone even wetter with the whole wheat - but it is tough to judge that in advance.  I don't think an autolyse will help, that will just make the gluten stronger.   The good news is that if you bake in a bread pan, it is pretty easy to see when you add too much water  -  been there.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Levin Bread,  yesterday I started, and today I finished 2 loaves of Hamelman's Baguettes with Poolish.   One batch was bread flour, one was home ground whole wheat 90% white whole wheat, 10% red.   The preferment was 100% hydration for the bread flour, I went to 120 for the wheat flour preferment to get a similar consistency.  This morning I started the wheat first, and goofed up because the initial mix was very dry, so I added a lot more water, then realized that I had forgetten to add the preferement,  so I added that and then added more flour, and mixed in a mixer to get a conisistency similar to what Hamelman shows in this video  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnxiawZoL4A     ( A few color photos or a dvd would be a great help to the nonprofessional in working through Hamelman's book to determine what he means by certain terms, such as the dough should be supple)  I took photos throughout the process, but they don't really tell the story.  The first is both doughs after mixing - the bread flour looked much more slack.  After one hour, I did the first stretch and fold - the whole wheat dough was larger and felt more airy ( it was 75 degrees, the bread flour one was 74 F ). After another one hour rest, I  started shaping, the wheat dough was much larger than the white loaf.  Final proof was 1 hour for the wheat,  1 hour and 15 minutes for the bread flour.  I then baked them, starting with the wheat one, then finishing with the bread flour.  I am playing around with steam techniques, for this batch, I did 10 minutes under a inverted pan with a short shot of steam from a steamer, and the rest uncovered.   The bread flour version cooked quicker, as a result, it did not get as brown.   While the wheat flour showed more oven spring in terms of spread from scoring, on the white version, you can't even see the score, but  the white flour version came out larger  Both tasted fine, though the white has a more airy feeling and the wheat is a bit more dense.       In the end, the white bread flour had a 66% hydration counting the water in the preferment and the final mix the wheat version was 89% hydration.  I can't say much about the results, because of the goof with the preferment in the wheat, I may have mixed that one more, and it ended up with 10% more flour, but no additional yeast, than I intended. I don't see the telltale droop you get from greatly overhydrated dough, and I don't think I overproofed them, but it was probably close to that.