The Fresh Loaf

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From bread flour to whole wheat and hydration

lenb's picture
lenb

From bread flour to whole wheat and hydration

I've been making a cinnamon raisin bread with 18% WW and would like to increase WW%.  I'm a WW newbie.  I've read that it needs a LOT more water than regular bread flour, so I know at least the hydration will have to change.  I don't want to go directly to 100% WW, I'm more a 100g at a time kind of guy.

I would appreciate any pointers.

My current flour/water is (plus salt & spices)

Bread Flour        500 g
Red Fife WW     100 g
Water                 400 g
Starter (100%)   300 g
Ground Flax      75 g

total:  550g water / 750(825)g flour (including flax) which yields hydration: 73%(66). 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

lenb, I have read that it needs more water, but not sure it is a lot .  I primarily use home milled whole wheat, and it may be possible it is less thirsty than bread flour, but I don't find I have to add a lot when I convert from 100% bread flour to 100% WW.  My two pointers are definitely do an autolyse or premix step, and let it rest 10 to 20 minutes before making any final decisions on adding water or flour.  Second, you are on the right track of changing out 100 grams of whole wheat at a time, and making slight changes to hydration, and timing of bulk ferment and final proof, and comparing your results each time as you slowly increase the WW.   

lenb's picture
lenb

I have a 1hr autolysis  after the initial mix(before spices), but perhaps it is better to autolyze before adding the starter, and possibly again before adding salt & spices?  Unsure about the effect of the spice timing.

The dough has seemed quite wet.  Would suggest trying for similar hydration?

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

You know what the dough feels like with your present recipe so when you change your recipe to more whole-wheat, add water 10 g at a time until it feels right to you. Be sure to write down what you did so you know for the next time!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Danni beat me too it,  10 grams is a fair amount to add at a time.    It doesn't sound like much, but you need to tweak the recipe in small amounts. 

lenb's picture
lenb

Don't know how to reply to two people at one; however, many thanks to you both.  Now I have a plan.

Will try to up WW on next bake and report back tomorrow. 

lenb's picture
lenb

I just realized that the recipe contains yogurt (85% water) and  raisins (20%) so my actual hydration comes out between 77-83 % depending on whether I count the  raisin water.  This explains why the dough was so much wetter than my straight sourdough.

If I want to make an applesauce (88% water) bread I guess I should reduce water added directly to compensate for this?

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Len,  yes,  you have to count all the moisture in calculating hydration, and a lot of fruit is very high in moisture.  I haven't baked much with raisins, but I think I read that they actually absorb moisture, so you need to adjust for that.  Either way, I suggest you hold back some water from the first mix,  add all the other ingredients, let it rest 5 to 10 minutes, then come back and add a little water,  let it rest again if you aren't sure, and add water and or flour until  you are happy with how the dough feels,  then add the yeast and the salt.  

lenb's picture
lenb

Hi Barry, 

Using a 100% hydration starter, I'm not sure what the dough should feel like before adding the starter.  I always begin by mixing flour, water, and starter.  Maybe that's a problem in general.  Is it better to start mixing only flour & water, allow it to autolyze, and then add starter.  If I do this, can I add the starter and salt at the same time?  I thought the starter needed a 'head start' before adding salt - which I have read inhibits yeast.

I ended up with an 81% hydration dough with 24%WW, counting all the water.  It was interesting to stretch & fold.  The first S&F was very sticky - my hands were a mess, the second S&F was tacky but my hands remained clean.  By the third S&F, which was after the rise, the dough was just as I like it: moist and supple but not tacky.  Very different from the previous batch which was identical except only 12%WW.  Switching 12% flour from bread -> WW, the dough went from wetter than I like to perfect.

I learn something every time. 

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

If it ended up perfect, then make sure you took notes, and do that the same way in the future.    In terms of adding starter to the flour and water,  I often take some of the water and add it to the starter, just to make sure that the starter will be evenly distributed, then add the flour and most of the rest of the water.  While a true autolyse is water and flour only, I don't think it makes much difference to add the starter, since you are only using a 5 to 10 minute rest.  Agreed on adding the salt once you are happy with the hydration.