The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

DDT calculation question for Daniel T. DiMuzio

LindyD's picture

DDT calculation question for Daniel T. DiMuzio

First, welcome to TFL.  Your new book on artisan baking looks quite interesting.  It's good to see a book about bread that includes a chapter on the history of bread making.  

I'm going to take advantage of your nice offer (and your considerable professional experience) to answer questions by asking one:  Hamelman's "Bread," the King Arthur Flour website, and The (just to name a few) all discuss the details of calculating desired dough temperature.  

However, no one seems to address including the temperature of a soaker.  I've not been able to find any reference to it, although some recipes include a soaker which uses a pound of water.  I should note that I first sent this question to the King Arthur Flour Baker's Hotline on March 1.  Three follow-up emails and nearly two months later, I still haven't gotten any response. 

I've played with the numbers by running a comparison using the examples in "Bread."  I've found that multiplying the DDT by five (the fifth item being the soaker) and including it in the calculation results in a water temperature that's in the same ballpark as the temp noted in the preferment examples given in the book, so it appears to be a factor that should be considered.

Is there any reason why soakers are not included in the published method of doing the calculation?  

Thanks for any light you can shine on my so far unanswered question.

suave's picture

I'd like to pose the question in a different way. Do you feel that for a home baker, working in a non-controlled environment, without high-power mixer, but also without the pressure of a production schedule or the need to produce precisely the same loaf day in and day out to match the expectation of a customer it is even worth worrying about such things as dough temperature?


foolishpoolish's picture

Thanks Dan for responding to this thread. It's awesome that you would take the time to answer these questions.

DDT is a bit of a headache for me and one I have avoided for the most part. I have always been rather confused by DDT calculations - mainly because in my pseudo-scientific mind they don't appear to accurately reflect what is actually going on when making bread.

The equal weighting of all factors seems..well odd, considering that you have completely different specific heat capacities for flour and water (and other significant ingredients)- not to mention significantly differing masses.

Then there's the 'friction factor' which confuses the heck out of me. How do I calculate this, as someone who kneads by hand? Referring to it as the 'fudge factor' just leaves me more in the dark than before.

OK, then on to 'room temperature' much, exactly, of the room am I incorporating into my dough??  Some air I suppose...but seriously what percentage is that and is that not subject to mix time and intensity?  Would the temperature of the surface I'm working on, not be far more important than the 'room temperature'...? And if room temperature is important then surely my (hand) body temperature is also important?

To top it all off, I've yet to find a fast and accurate way to measure temperature. I have bought two (not inexpensive) digital probe thermometers over the last year or so and neither will take anything remotely approaching an accurate quick temperature reading.  How, then, am I supposed to read these temperatures for the DDT calculation where, for example, 10F can make a BIG difference. Suggestions for method and/or equipment would be MUCH appreciated.

All of which (as you can probably tell) leaves me very frustrated with DDT. I'm curious to know how other people calculate and work with this. I have no doubt that it can be of great benefit to control temperature both in mixing and fermentation but I have yet to figure out how I come anywhere close to achieving or calculating this in a meaningful way.

Please help!


LindyD's picture

If you knead by hand or the fold-in-the-bowl technique, FP, the friction factor is so low is isn't included in the calculation.  

The math is pretty simple.  Example: you are making a straight dough and the recipe says the dough temp is supposed to be 76F.    

Multiply 76 by 3.  That gives you 228F - your baseline.

Subtract your flour temperature:  72F

Subtract the temperature of the room where you are mixing the bread and will leave it for the bulk fermentation:  80F

The subtotal is: 76F - and that's the temperature your water should be.

If you are using a preferment, multiply the DDT by 4 and subtract the temperature of the preferment, as well as the flour and room temps.

As discussed above, if  you are using a soaker, multiply the DDT by 5 and subtract the soaker.

You might not hit precisely 76F after mixing, but you'll be pretty close.  And that's much better than a temp of 85F or 50F if you're looking for consistency.

I had been using a Fieldpiece SPK1 Pocket Knife Style Digital Thermometer, available for $20 through Amazon.  It was precise and pretty fast,  but my daughter borrowed it.  I now have a Thermapen. 

foolishpoolish's picture

Thanks - that clarified the calculation for me. I'll give it another try.

Thanks also for the thermometer recommendation. I may well end up getting the fieldpiece...thermapen is a little too pricey for me.



LindyD's picture

Any plans for iOS?