The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hydration? Seam side down? No knead bread.

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MotoJack's picture
MotoJack

Hydration? Seam side down? No knead bread.

In many posts here hydration is mentioned.70% hydration,80%,100% etc,etc.Please,what exactly should I know about this?Is 100% hydration like a soupy wet batter or what?What would the no knead bread that I've been making be classified as?It's kinda wet after it's been sitting in the bowl for 18 hours doing whatever it does.How do you know what % hydration you have?One more question.If I put my no knead into the pot seam side down instead of seam side up and make some cuts across the top so it'll be sorta better looking will that still be ok?Will the bread still do the way it's doing with the seam up?I really like the taste/texture of this bread as is and don't wanna screw it up.Thanks guys. 

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Hydration is typically stated as a percentage relative to the amount of flour in a recipe.  Flour is always 100% and the other ingredients are compared to that figure.  For example, if you have 350 grams of flour in a recipe and want to prepare a dough hydration level of 70%, you need 245 grams of water (350 x .70) to get that level of hydration.  100% hydration then is a 50/50  mix of flour and water.  These factors are based on formulas commonly referred to as "baker's percentages".  There's lots of information on this site and others about that subject and most basic bread baking books talk about it so you shouldn't have any trouble finding something to read on the subject.


Here's a place to get started:


http://www.theartisan.net/bakers_percentage_revised_2001.htm


Not all of the "No knead" bread recipes are identical.  Mine specifies about 75% hydration but I've read some that are in the 80% range. 


Putting "cuts" along the top of your no-knead bread (slashing) probably wouldn't make any difference because the no-knead dough is very slack and the slashing doesn't maintain itself well in a slack dough.  You can bake  your bread seam side up or seam side down, the bread doesn't care,  but the appearance of the loaf and its' ability to hold its shape while affected by oven spring works best if it's loaded into the oven seam side down (and if there's a seam, try to pinch it closed and seal it so it doesn't open during baking).


Don't be afraid to "screw it up".  Every time you make a mistake you learn something and you till have something to enjoy at the dinner table.

MotoJack's picture
MotoJack

Thank you flournwater.The link you've provided is of course just the ticket I needed.As for reading,I will be ordering "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" when we return from our upcoming road trip.From what I understand it tells how to make large batches of dough which is stored in the fridge and used as needed.It's sorta like an advanced no knead type deal I believe.I swear this bread making is about the most interesting hobby I've found in years.I never would've thought I'd be interested in making baked goods.LOL,I'm driving my sweet wife nuts with all the flour slung all over everything in the kitchen.I gotta be more careful.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Glad to help.  Especially if it gets you over a hurdle at some point.


If it's artisan breads you're interested in any you want to look at bread from a historical perspective at the same time, I think you'll readly like Dan Dimuzio's "Bread Baking; An Artisan's Perspective".  It's available at just about any book store and through a lot of on-line resources.

catpoz's picture
catpoz

Hi.  I just got Dan Dimuzio's book a few wees ago.  It is FABULOUS!  It is written kind of like a text book with a brief history of bread baking, Learning Outcomes, Artisan Baker Profiles, Baking Formulas given in small and large batches, informative Sidebars that expound on particular topics, and Lab Exercises and Experiments summaries. It is an extremely comprehensive book with lots of helpful pics.  Excellent book.