The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelmans (BREAD) Vermont Sourdough Recipe

dale1nemo's picture

Hamelmans (BREAD) Vermont Sourdough Recipe

I am new to the sourdough thing, any how in Hamelmans book BREAD he mentions to adjust the hydration. I have followed the recipe and I do understand the bakers percentages however I am a little confused in the adjusting the hydration part. The banguettes are in the final fermention stage right now and are rising (slowley) just fine and look good. I have baked lots of bread before...the regular stuff never this advanced type. I did add some water in the end into my kitchen aid mixer like I might need to do when I make a (standard ) yeast bread to bring the dough together. Is this the correct procedure ? HELP ! and Thanks !

benjamin's picture

Even detailed recipes found in expert books such as Hammelman's 'Bread' will need marginal tweeking in in order to get a good finished product. When refering to 'adjusting the hydration', the author implies making slight changes in flour or water quantity in order to get the desired dough consistency. This is mainly due to differences in flour, for instance you may be using a flour which has a lower capacity to absorb water, and thus you would need to add less water or more flour. Personally, since the bakers percentage system is created around the weight of flour, I prefer to add the flour to the mixer and gradually incorporate the water at the first stage of mixing, when the ingredients are just being brought together. This means I can reserve some water if necessary and I dont have to alter the weight of flour.


hope this helps,


ananda's picture


This is the best advice from Ben.   You can always add more water to the mixer; but if you add too much in the first place, you can never take it away!   So, if you have to add flour, that means your formula no longer balances.

The other thing to add, is to try and achieve the correct dough consisitency in the slow mixing cycle.   Once the dough starts to develop, it can be very difficult to incorporate any extra water.

Best wishes