The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ericlindley's picture

Highest Hydration Possible

November 24, 2008 - 1:51pm -- ericlindley

Hi!  I've recently gotten into higher-hydration breads, and tried to make what I think is a 100% hydration ciabatta.


The crumb turned out nicely shiny and gelatinous, and the crust was very thin, papery even


Pictures and recipe on my bizarre baking blog:  http://www.violencebaguettesviolence.blogspot.com/


 


The point, though, is:

Darkstar's picture
Darkstar

Well it's been since I first found TheFreshLoaf in 2006 that I posted to my bread blog. Up until recently I hadn't had much time or energy to do much baking. Couple that with my love of crusty breads and whole wheat and my wife likes non-crusty, white breads and all the married folk can understand how this variable can decrease the amount of bread time for Jason. Well I had the time recently and wanted something to challenge me and get me back in the swing of baking so I scanned the site and decided on Floyd's Pain sur Poolish recipe.

 

I don't have much experience with working high-hydration dough but the best way to learn is to do so I dove right in. I guess I was feeling cocky from finally ordering and reading BBA but I felt I could handle it or add enough flour to make it a lower hydration loaf. :)

 

I followed the recipe to the letter with minor variations caused by the weather and temperature in the Chicago area recently (freaking cold). I am pleased and proud to have turned out a lovely boule and to have achieved a crisp crust with a creamy interior; both firsts for me as I usually bake enriched breads. I was doubly pleased and proud when my wife came home and not only tried my bread but actually liked it! I quickly made another poolish and baked up a second batch the next day for around-the-office gifting this time making two smaller boules for my usual "bread-head" and a newly discovered loaf-lover. The picture below was taken of the crumb from one of the smaller loaves my "bread-head" friend devoured. I thanked her for photographing it before it was all gone.

 

Darkstar's Daily Bread

 

I got sidetracked after I baked this as my sourdough starter became ready to bake with and I made this same recipe with a cup of starter in place of some of the flour and all of the yeast. I used pieces of info from JMonkey's lesson Squeeze more sour from your sourdough and other suggestions from another site to make a very, VERY tasty loaf. I plan on doing this again to photograph as my wife and I decimated the sourdough loaf before I could take pictures of it.

 

edh's picture

pre-ferment hydration question

December 19, 2007 - 5:13am -- edh

Hi all,

I have a question about the hydration of a pre-ferment. I realize that changing the hydration makes it either a biga or a poolish, but I don't care so much about the name as I do the result! I just made Hamelman's Rustic Bread with a few changes, and the family loved it. I doubled the ww (there's not that much to begin with), and used it in the pre-ferment instead of the final dough. It worked wonderfully, but I'd like to go a little further and up the ww % even further, maybe to 50% eventually.

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