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Very dry flour and climate Help!

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highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

Very dry flour and climate Help!

Hey  all, I live in a very high and dry climate.  Our new kitchen addition has 6  (happy dance) glass fronted flour drawers.  I keep my bulk flour in Vittle Vaults in the garage, but once it comes inside it starts drying out.  I have always needed to add water in the past, but realize that it would be far faster and effective using a standard "extra %" water.  I know many of you will say, "just add a little water until the dough feels right", which  is fine if you are baking the same breads, but I tend to wander off the straight and narrow. 


What % of the total water would you suggest as a constant addition?? Chuck is usually my go to guy for science questions...but please everybody weigh in...


Pam


 

mcs's picture
mcs

Hi Pam,
Perhaps not the answer you're looking for, but only you know what you want your bread to be like in the climate you're working in.


However, assuming you're baking by weight and baking multiple recipes from the same book, your % of water added should remain somewhat constant.  I'd start the recipe with exactly the water that is called for, then add water that I've measured by weight, a little at a time until the dough looks like I want it to.  Record the addition, divide it out, then try that on the next recipe. 


Authors usually stay somewhat consistent in their own books, however a different author will be using different flour in a different climate, with different expectations for their dough, so the % will change for a different book.


-Mark


http://TheBackHomeBakery.com


 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Yep, somebody beat me to it before I could say it too: figure out what works for one recipe - keeping track with paper and pencil of the weights of all the bits of water you add, express the total as a baker's percentage, then do that same amount for other recipes.


Here's a rough cross-check on the value you determine: Flour from the mill in the U.S. typically has around 14% moisture. If your climate is extremely dry, i'd guess (and this is just a rough guess:-) the final moisture will be something like 8%. That's a moisture difference of 6%, so I'd expect the value you come up with to be somewhere near that, say somewhere in the range 4%-10%.


good luck!

highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

I know that flour has a moisture level, but I had no idea of how to "guess"timate further moisture loss.  I think I'll just start with 6% and keep very accurate records as per Mark's suggestion.


Pam