The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

to drain or not to drain a soaker

tomsgirl's picture

to drain or not to drain a soaker

Hello~ So I am following a recipe from wild yeast and I am not sure if am I to drain my soaker. It does have oats and I "assume" the amount of water added will be absorbed by the oats. I also "assume" it would say to drain if needed. My "assumptions" have led to trouble.

~Thanks so much

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

The soaker should be hydration neutral, neither increasing nor decreasing the hydration of the dough to which it's added.

(Alas, "should be" is one of those conditional verb tenses that you can lump with "could be" "would be" and "assume".)


proth5's picture

Yes, "hydration neutral" for a soaker is the BBGA standard.  However, the formula writer may or may not have used this standard.  Reading the formula in question, I would read it as not draining the soaker.  Although the dough is pretty wet without the additional soaker water...

A safe bet would be to drain the soaker and reserve the soaker water - as you complete the mix, if you perceive the dough as being dry, you can add the soaker water into the mix.

Of course, this confusion is why the standard was written as it was...

Hope this helps.

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

I would assume that if the recipe stated a specific amount of water to use in your soaker that all the liquid should be used.  If other clues are given such a hydration of the dough  you can always check the water to flour and see if it matches the expected hydration.

tomsgirl's picture

Thanks so much for the comments I added the water to my soaker and as I thought there wasn't much to drain as the oats seemed to have absorbed most of the liquid. The final dough was a bit wet but not to wet and I did add all of the soaker but left a wee bit out of the weighed water. This is my first attempt at a wheat sourdough so we shall see. I do love a good seedy bread.