The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hydration

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auzziewog's picture
auzziewog

Hydration

What a wonderful site - I used to make breads that could have won wars, heavy and hard like bombs and I had stopped and filed it in the too hard basket - thanks to the No Knead Bread recipe from the NYT this has changed - featherlite almost floaties - no quite but there is one thing I do not understand that is the comment by fellow breadies  " 65% hydration " or I willi increase the hydration. Now that has to do with addiing an amount of water or having a sloppy dough -  see no flies on me ! but how do you calculate the hydration percentage ? and what does it do ? what is the diffeerent outcomes?? 

regards from a Downunder

 

 

 

 

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

A lot of more "advanced" bread recipes these days use baker's percentages. It's a method used by bakeries a lot because it's easy to scale up and down for larger or smaller batches. I believe originally it was used because recipes were based on 100 pound bags of flour, so it was easy to create formulas based by weight. A lot of us have adapted to using weight instead of volume for bread recipes for several reasons: I find it more accurate, faster, and easier to change the quantities for recipes.

 

Anyway, a baker's percentage takes the weight of the flour in a recipe and bases all the other ingredients on that. So, a 65% hydration means that the water (or other liquids) in the formula account for 65% of the flour weight--if you used 1 pound of flour, the water would be about 10.4 ounces. Once you're more familiar with using recipes like this, a quick glance at the "hydration" will let you know whether it will be a stiff dough, or a wet dough (the NYT is definitely on the wet end of things).

 

It can get quite a bit more complicated than this when you start to calculate preferments and soudough starters, but this is the basic idea. Hope this helps!

auzziewog's picture
auzziewog

Thank you very much - that is nice and clear - I have started to use grammes as it is a lot easier then 1/2 cups, quarts, pints and ounces

 

jm_chng's picture
jm_chng

I think you'll find grams much easier than converting pounds and ounces too.  65g of water and 100g of flour.65/100 x 100 = 65% now that is clear. : -)

Jim

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Good point!  I almost used the example of 100 pounds of flour and 65 pounds of water, but thought that was a little too easy!!!  :)

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Couldn't agree more...It's so much easier on a digital scale measuring out 16 grams of salt in a recipe than 0.56 oz!