Water, Flour, Techniques, and Humidity
How much can a dry atmosphere effect flour hydration, normally? Our apartment is seemingly very dry, chronically dry.
I don't mean just dry. I mean that fruit doesn't even ROT in our apartment. it dries out. an orange once fell behind a desk and was forgotten, and it didn't smell bad, or get moldy, it dehydrated. months later we found a slightly smaller, slightly darker(but still discernably orange-colored) and was substantially lighter weight, and had the texture of styrofoam.
now trying to follow some of the recipes in BBA, as they are stated... and the water specified seems to be insufficient. ... like by a pretty large margin. like as much as needing several tablespoons of water extra, per cup of water prescribed.
I could be just doing a phenomenally bad job of measuring, I don't have a proper kitchen scale that is remotely reliable at the moment (the one I had crapped out) but even with that in mind... that seems like a big difference, I don't THINK that I am doing a bad enough job to wholely account for the difference...
which leads(sort of) to another question. I remember learning, or being told, or something, when I was relatively young baking, that you generally want to add your flour/dry ingredients TO the water/moist ingredients, so that you can more easily add more or less, and that its easier to control the flour, and mix it in, than it is to mix in more water. but many of the recipes in BBA instruct adding the moisture to the dry. is there a secret clause, or perhaps a portion of the book that I skimmed over, that says "no, really I mean that you should use another bowl, and add the dry to the wet" or is this a "well everyone knows that" thing? or is it simply a different approach? even if you want to be sure to be adding at least Xoz of flour, wouldn't it be better to add it a little at a time, and if it seems to be getting to the desired texture before the flour is used, to add more water BEFORE it tries to come together with insufficient water?
I realize I'm relatively new to all this, so maybe theres something I'm missing.