The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hydration and baking method?

kolobezka's picture
kolobezka

Hydration and baking method?

Could anybody help me to explain this:


- when I bake bread in a bread machine the dough hydration can be max. around 60% (i.e. to create a compact ball; at least in my experience - otherwise the bread falls in the middle ad has "ears"). Some said it was because the space was small and there was nor place for water to evaporate... But:


- why it is recommended to use much higher hydration for baking in the oven - even in a covered pot to get a nice oven spring?


 


I would also like to ask for a tip on a bread machine book for advanced baking - using preferments and sourdough, whole wheat, rye, explaininig how to adapt the individual program, converting recipes (e.g. if  the mixing time recommended is 5minutes or a KA, what would that be for a bread machine with one / two blades...) With metric units if possible. There were some suggestions for European Rustic Breads or a book by Jennie Shapter but without futher details.


Thanks


zdenka

ehanner's picture
ehanner

zdenka,


I remember being where you are now in bread making. I wanted to make better breads and use different flours but the bread machine was limiting my attempts and good information was hard to find. One day I decided to let the machine knead the dough and try baking on a pizza stone. That was interesting but the next try I used a bread pan with out the stone and liked the results much better.


That was the last day I used the bread machine. I discovered how easy it is to mix in a bowl and combine the elements of good bread for my family. I hope you give it a try too. With a spoon and your hands you can easily mix your dough in a bowl and learn to develop the gluten. There are lessons here to help you in the transition and there are many who will help if you have questions. You won't be sorry you took this step.


Eric

kolobezka's picture
kolobezka

actually I have already made several breads without any machine and I admit enjoying it very much. I would even say the following washing-up is easier :-) I had always been discouraged by long kneading (uff, my hands and arms...) but Robert Bertinet method and simple Stretch&Folds completely changed my view. Well, I am still a beginner... and cannot find the baking method that suits best for my oven :-(


However,  bread machine can do some very good sandwich-like breads at incomparably lower cost than eletric oven. Moreover when I make 3-4 loafs on Friday for the Sabbath potluck, it is quite convenient to put let the bread machine work by itself.


My first question was rather about understanding the principle than arguing what method is tastier...


May I just ask - do you prefer baking in pans rather than directly on the stone?


zdenka