Soft Water, Dough Feel and Flavor
In the advanced area, there is a thread going on where Mike is trying to fix his water quality in central Texas. It got me thinking that I might be shooting myself in the foot and unknowingly creating a problem with my own water supply. For a long time I used strictly the cold well water from our own well when mixing dough. There is an artesian well near us that people go to and collect bottles of "special mineral water". I didn't find it was much different that our well water so I stopped getting it.
Our home water system is set up so that the cold water in the kitchen is run through an Iron filter but not the water softener. All of the other water in the house is softened. When I first started baking I made an effort to use only the cold un-softened water in the kitchen. Now that I am more experienced and casual in my baking I have recently been blending the warm (softened) water to arrive at the temperature I need for my doughs. My storage starter is kept in the cooler so I do need to bump up the water temp. to arrive at a satisfactory temperature. My other way to raise the temperature is to nuke the cold water for a few seconds but it's an extra step and I was being lazy.
I raise this because I'm interested in knowing if anyone has noticed that it makes a difference using a home water softener to blend the water temperature? From Mikes comments it sounds like the dough would be softer and gluten might not develop as well.