The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

hydration

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Franko's picture
Franko

This past Sunday I was in the book store browsing...where else.. but through the cooking section. One of the books that interested me the most was Richard Bertinet's 'Crust', in particular for some of the unique recipes in it. It also included a DVD of Bertinet demonstrating his techniques for hand mixing and kneading brioche and levain. The book has some very good photography as well and the price was reasonable so I went for it. Mr. Bertinet has been mentioned a fair bit lately on TFL so I was curious to see what I could learn from him. While the book is not particularly technical, primarily being meant for an advanced home baker I think, his methods are that of an expert baker who has a clear and easy style of explaining a formula or procedure.

When I mentioned in a thread on Sunday http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19547/richard-bertinet-wins-major-uk-award that I'd picked up the book a couple of members replied mentioning that they had it as well and thought it was a good one to have, although they both thought the hydration for his Ciabatta formula was too low. I looked at it and didn't think it seemed out of range but decided to try it for myself and see. Now normally I'm not a real stickler for being exact when it comes to scaling water, but going more for the feel of the dough as described by the author or any included photos. This time though I weighed out all the ingredients right to the specified gram and followed his times and oven temps fairly close as well. Of the half dozen or so ciabattas I've made over the last eight months I think this is one of the better ones. It may be partially due to having used a lower protein flour (10%) for this one than I have in the past or maybe because I spent more time developing it by hand than I normally do, but whatever the reason it made a good loaf. The crust is fairly thin and splintery and the crumb while being a bit more open than I prefer, has a good chew to it for an all white bread. The flavour is just what I expect a ciabatta to taste like, wheaty, toasty, with a bit of richness from the extra virgin olive oil coming through. Very tasty!


Franko


 


frostious's picture

How hydration % affects stretchability

September 6, 2010 - 2:57pm -- frostious

I had been wondering precisely how dough hydration affects a dough's ability to stretch to form a membrane, so this morning I did a quasi-scientific experiment to get a rough idea of how this works.


I made five batches of dough, at different hydration levels, using the following recipe:


525g bread flour


15g sugar


10g salt


8g yeast


The hydration levels were 50%, 57%, 64% and 71%

ehanner's picture
ehanner

This past year has been very interesting for me. I made learning rye breads a goal at the years end, and while I now know enough to understand it's going to take a lot longer, I'm making progress. Recently I did an experiment with scalding rye that worked out well. We have had some great threads here on the benefits of autolyse and mixing patterns. I was reminded of a post from Shiao-Ping where she  made a Gerard Rubaud bread and another one from James Macguire that utilized long cool ferment at high hydration.


One thing that these breads have in common is hydration in the area of 80% and small amounts of yeast. This combination requires longer fermenting times and allows the development of flavorful acids. When handled gently, the bread that develops is airy and moist with great color and nutty after tastes.


I decided to make a single 900 gram loaf at 80% hydration. My plan was to start with a 90/10 ratio of AP/Dark Rye so it would darken well and hold moisture better than a straight white loaf. This is a plan for a small miche (if there is such a thing). Only the basic ingredients of flour, water, salt and yeast.This was a hand mixed dough. Just a plastic scraper, wire whisk, larger bowl and my hands were used. A key element to making this dough behave like I wanted was to control the water temperature so as to end up at a desired dough temperature of 70 degrees F. The natural reaction of the water being absorbed by the flour raises the temp by around 4 degrees F. So it's important to start near 70 at the warmest. My ambient room measures at 75F along with the flour.


The formula for adjusting the variable (water) follows. 215F - room temp - flour temp -5F = Water temp. For me this looks like 215F-75 -75 -5= 60F. When everything is mixed together the dough will be at or near 70F. Prof. Calvel and James Macguire both have made a point to stress that correct dough temp is the MOST important and critical aspect of making the dough you want. You just can't treat that as idle chatter form the masters and expect greatness in your oven. I like this bread because it can be made in a single day. In fact if you start at 11 AM, you should be done by 4ish, in time for dinner. The methods employed are from the old European school. My next batch will be with only 5% dark rye


Ingredients:
450g AP flour
50g Dark Rye flour
1/2 teaspoon Instant Dry Yeast (IDY)
10g Sea Salt
400g Water (cool)


Method:
Start by measuring the room and flour temperature and doing the calculation for the water temp. If you need to use ice to cool the water to arrive at a DDT of 70F, so be it.


Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and make sure the flours are well combined. Add water all at one time and stir with a spoon, switching to a scraper. This should involve no more than 2 minutes and should result in a rough mass with no dry flours in the bowl. Cover and rest for 20 minutes.


After 20 minutes, fold in the bowl for 8-10 repetitions rotating as you go. Alternatively, pour on the counter and fold with a scraper using double letter folds.Return to the bowl and cover.


Repeat the folding process every hour for a total of FOUR folds. That means 4 more folds after the first. When it is time for the last fold, don't fold, dust flour around the seam between the dough and the bowl and using the scraper, loosen the dough ball up so you can pour it out on a floured counter.


Brush any loose flour off the top of the dough and cover it with the bowl for about 20 minutes. Removing the bowl, pull the edges up to the center around the dough to tighten the lower surface and roll the ball over to the seamed side down. Prepare a linen lined basket with flour rubbed into the fabric and lightly dust the top of the dough. Roll the dough into your hands and place it into the basket seems up. Cover with a towel and proof for around 45 minutes. The dough will have become light and puffy and will test with the finger poke test.


Pre heat the oven to 450F when the dough goes into the basket using a stone and steam producer.


Load dough when it is ready and steam normally for 15 minutes. LOWER oven temp to 350F after the 15 minutes and start checking for done around 45 minutes total bake time. The idea is to bake the interior more slowly and not to over do it with color.


I left the loaf in the oven with the heat off and door ajar for another 5 minutes to help draw the moisture out. Remember it was an 80% hydrated mix. Cool and enjoy.


Eric




emily_mb's picture

Newbie Q on Hydration and Additions: Flax, oat, wheat germ, wheat bran, polenta

June 15, 2010 - 10:15am -- emily_mb
Forums: 

I am a newbie who loves to experiment.  From my reading and experimentation I have learned that successful breads roughly have a 3 to 1 ratio of flour to liquid.  And that dough can tolerate a certain amount of "additions" such as nuts, raisins, sundried tomatoes, etc.  Most recipes that call for additions have 1 to 2 Tbs. per cup of flour.  So, my question is. which of these things function as flour (have to be counted towards the hydration) and which ones are additions? 

benji's picture

Torn Dough

May 25, 2010 - 9:43pm -- benji

Recently I've been experimenting with hydration.  My normal sourdough recipe is 1part starter, 1water, 2flour by weight.  I always have only whole wheat flour in the starter part and the flour parts are plain old bread flour.  Usually I don't even need to get all the way to the 2parts flour for it to turn out nicely.

Daisy_A's picture

Charting ingredients - help appreciated - quick question

May 22, 2010 - 4:24pm -- Daisy_A

Hi - would appreciate some help with charting ingredients for formulae, baker's percentages and hydration.


Just a quick question - I have a recipe with 10g diastatic malt and 10g wheat germ. As these are grains are they counted in the flour weight when calculating hydration or not? I have seen diastatic malt listed separately from flour in some calculations but am not sure if this is the general convention?


With thanks in advance for your help   Daisy_A

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Some days you should just go back to bed and start over. I'm in the process of trying to make Hamelman's cinnamon oatmeal raisin bread (modified with sourdough starter). While building the final  dough I noted that the water on the scale seemed to be an enormous amount. So much so that I even grabbed another container, re-tared the scale and reweighed it. No, it seems to weigh out fine.


Final dough ends up looking like thin pancake batter. About 3kgs of it!! I'm not sure what I did wrong, not enough flour or too much water but I've been slowly adding more flour for that past hour. I'm wondering if my scale locked up or something? This is going to be one enormous batch of dough!


I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can work this out. Would have to happen on a recipe that is more complicated than flour, water and salt, wouldn't it? Now I'm wondering how much I should up the raisins and cinnamon, if I should add more oil/honey.


At least the fresh ground whole wheat flour (first time using the grinder) looks and smells wonderful. Can't wait to try it. Hope I haven't totally mucked it up.

MmeZeeZee's picture

Levain Angst

May 1, 2010 - 12:52pm -- MmeZeeZee

I don't know if this is the right place, but I just baked my first loaf with a new levain.  I made it according to Dan Lepard's instructions in "The Handmade Loaf".  It looks exactly like the pictures in his book, and did rise.  However, my bread did not.  Well, it rose a little bit over four hours (not doubled in height, that's for sure, but I put it in because I needed to go to bed!) and it rose and spread out a bit more in the oven.  Certainly those babies are active.  But perhaps not active enough?

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