The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Soakers

btock's picture
btock

Soakers

New here to TFL and had a question about soakers. I have seen some formulas that use salt and some that do not. What is the belief of using salt? For flavor? If so what changes when it's added to the soaker as opposed to the final dough? Possibly to regulate any fermentation from ambient yeast? Tighten gluten? Although I would think that you should get the gluten development from the final mix. All thoughts welcome!

-Ben the Baker

wally's picture
wally

Salt is recommended especially for soakers using boiling water to slow down enzymatic activity brought about by the hot water.  In his "Bread" Jeffrey Hamelman points out that this activity can lead to off flavors in the grains.  In rye soakers, the effect of the salt is to slow down a particular enzyme - protease - that can result in too much starch being converted into sugar with the ultimate effect being a gummy rye.

If you add salt to your soaker, be sure to count this as part of the salt that goes into your final dough.  I frequently will use at least half my overall salt in a hot rye soaker, having discovered the effects of a 'starch attack'.

Larry

btock's picture
btock

for the response Larry, although i thought that protease was resposible for gluten degradation and amalayse was resposible for starch to sugar conversions. 

wally's picture
wally

Meant to say amylase.  I've got baguettes on my mind.  In any event, salt will slow down the reaction, much as it can be added to levain in a hot environment to slow down its ripening if necessary.

Good catch - Larry

btock's picture
btock

Again thank you much in the response. This will definitely help me with some things.

charbono's picture
charbono

Protease degrades protein and is controlled by salt.

Amylase converts damaged starch to sugar and is controlled by acid.

 

wally's picture
wally

I'm no chemist, however, Hamelman states in "Bread"  - "The presence of salt reduces the level of enzymatic activity (particularly the enzyme amylase)." pg. 189

Larry