The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Problems with hydration

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maggiem's picture
maggiem

Problems with hydration

I am wondering if anyone else has had the same experience with dry climate. I live in northern New Mexico and I find that with all the bread recipes I try, I need a lot more water. The doughs that are supposed to be very hydrated are not. I do weigh everything but have come to the point where I just keep adding water until I feel it is right. My loaves seem to turn out fine, I am just wondering if there is some sort of "law" that tells you how much extra to add. Any other tips etc would be welcome.


Thanks, Maggie

pjaj's picture
pjaj

All the doughs I make here in Oxfordshire (UK) seem to need about 5-10% LESS water than the recipe calls for in order to achieve a ball of dough that comes away from the mixer bowl cleanly.


Maybe the water here is wetter than average and yours is dryer! B-}


Seriously it could be something to do with the water content of the flour. In a dry climate I would expect it to be lower than average and conversly in damp weather it could be higher.

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

and I find that many of the high hydration recipes work just fine for me. I often wind up adding a little flour so that the dough cleans the side of the bowl. Perhaps your flour is very dry to start with due to storage?


Have you tried the Jason's Coccodrillo? That is an amazingly gloppy dough, and it will be a good test of whether or not your flour is intensely dry. If that dough doesn't come out like oobleck, then I would try another flour.


I have been baking with flours that I ordered from Kansas and KAF--they probably have more moisture than the ones that have been in warehouses here in NM!


Good luck, and keep us posted on your solutions.


Patricia

maggiem's picture
maggiem

Thanks, I don' t have too much problem with the higher hydration  breads except that my crumb is much more dense. I have to work things longer to incorporate all the flour. Most of my hydration problems seem to be with loaf breads and lower hydration recipies. I succesfully made a ciabatta and a no knead sourdough the past few days. They both turned out well except for a bit more uniform crumb than I would have liked. Anyway, I will keep plugging along.


Where in NM are you Patricia?


Thanks, Maggie

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Maggie, have you tried an autolyse with your dough?  I heat with wood and my home has very dry air, so I always do a 30 to 60 minute autolyse.

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Outside Santa Fe in the beautiful Pojoaque Valley. You?

maggiem's picture
maggiem

I am just north of Taos.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Lucky you!


I used to live and work at Taos Ski Valley, many moons ago.  Still miss the place.

tjkoko's picture
tjkoko

To avoid producing a dough that is both dry and tough, I barely mix all ingredients into the poolish.  Knead for 10 seconds and allow to rest (or autolyse as some may label it) for 45 minutes.  Then the dough undergoes French folding followed by a 45 minute rest.  Then I repeat the French fold and rest twice more.  Afterwards the dough receives its final shape and proof  before slipping into the oven of glorious darkness.