Newbie with question about salt and hydration
I've been 'lurking' on the sidelines for sometime now and I have to say that I have found the content of these pages invaluable to my quest for a respectable sourdough. But it's time I joined up!!
As a bit of background - my mother and her mother ran a small bakers in the 1930s in Fetcham, Surrey (England) and as a result we always had fresh home-made bread during my youth. It wasn't until I left home that I got to taste that disgusting thing called bread that most people have to eat. As a result, I badgered my mum to show me how to make good bread and I've been doing it ever since - now nearly 40 years! This is conventional yeasted bread mostly with fresh yeast (which is still available at supermarkets - just).
However, on a recent trip I stayed at a place where the owner baked sourdough and I was greatly impressed. I asked for some of her yeast culture and took it home in a plastic pot - it survived two hot days in a car and a night in a hotel. Initially, I had problems with handling very wet dough and not kneading but gradually, I have acquired the skills and can now turn out a good loaf of sourdough - it has so much more taste than the conventional yeasted bread I used to make. I am now a complete convert to sourdough bread and have used the technique for focaccia, ciabatta, pizza etc with good results.
By trial and error, I have established the role of salt in sourdough and I can see that it is essential but I would like to reduce the amount of salt in my bread. I've been using 2% salt (2% of the flour content) up to now but to me, it seems a lot and I would like to reduce this to 1%. I've tried searching for a decent recipe using 1% but had little success - so does anyone out there have a good recipe/technique for low salt sourdough?
Also, and this seems a bit strange to me, but it seems that when people talk about hydration rates of sourdough bread there is a lack of consistency - I can see that the water content of the starter is included in the calculation but why isn't the flour content of the starter included as well?
So a couple of issues which have been bothering me for a while - I hope the experts here will be able to enlighten me.