The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hydration

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Hydration

If two recipes are both about 75% hydration--one has buttermilk, the other doesn't--why would the buttermilk recipe be beautiful and perfect, while the other is a sloppy mess on my counter? I am counting the water and the buttermilk as 1 g per ml (figuring the buttermilk is close enough), and I am counting honey as .5 g of water content per ml. Are my figures off? Different flours? Is it that I'm not measuring by weight, so I can't really compare? (Can't wait to get a baker's scale--hint-hint for Mother's Day)

Should a 75% hydration dough be sloppy like that?

BTW, I'm comparing Laurel's Kitchen Buttermilk Bread and Basic Whole Wheat.

Thanks!

Voni

pepperhead212's picture
pepperhead212

I used to make some white breads with buttermilk - been a while, but it was always good in them, so I don't know why I stopped using it!  I would often sub BM for water in a recipe, but would have to add about 1 1/4 c, to 1 c water, so it must have something besides the water in it.  Obviously there are milk solids, but I can't explain why it acts different that the plain milk, but it does.  Maybe one of the others has a scientific explanation, but when milk is cured, it seems the solids increase, as you can actually strain them out of buttermilk and yogurt, to make a semi-firm cheese.   I have no idea how much the hydration is reduced,  but imagine adding that to the bread, along with the water (whey) that is strained out.

Dave 

 

Grenage's picture
Grenage

While the volume, rather than weight, doesn't help - there will certainly be more water in.. water, than in an equal volume of buttermilk!

75% is ok to work with, and I still knead by hand at that level; any more and I'd be folding.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

in buttermilk all have a serious impact on the dough. You can't expect that 75% water and 75% buttermilk will behave similarly, in particular the acids will have a marked effect on the structure. Acids may strengrthen or weaken the dough depending on their composition and on the fermentation time. Generally the longer they act the more gluten weakens.

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

I hadn 't thought of the acids! Thanks!

jcking's picture
jcking

My calculations of the two loaf hydration comparison, with buttermilk as 85% water is; (yes I have the book)

Buttermilk loaf = 66% hydration

Whole wheat = 72% hydration

Whole wheat flour and whole wheat bread flour are the same thing.

Jim

 

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Aw rats, and I thought I understood BP :) Jim, would you please show me your math so I can see where I went wrong?

I did it this way: 120 ml (grams) of water (with the yeast) + 175 g water + 30 g (1/2 of the honey) + 300 (buttermilk)= 625

625/830 = 75%

 

Thanks in advance for teaching me!

Blessings,

Voni

jcking's picture
jcking

Hi Voni,

Okay, 295 water, honey is on average is 20% water +12 (in first est I skipped honey) =307, plus the buttermilk @ 300 which is 85% water becomes 255 =562g of liquid /830 flour=67.7% hydration. If you wanted to go crazy you could figure the % water of the butter @ 15%, yet you would need to go back and consider some water would be needed to compensate for the other matter in the buttermilk that would need hydration. In all I feel quite confident that the hydration is much closer to 68% than 75%. Rest assured you do understand the math, it's just the percent of water in other ingredients that gets tricky. I used 85% water for the buttermilk as an average because one can find in books and other Internet sources anywhere from 80 to 90% water in buttermilk. And none specify regular of skim buttermilk. You may find information on your milk carton, mine doesn't specify yet if you remove the items such as fat, sugar and protein etc., it's close to 85%. You could go even crazier counting the amount of water in salt and sugar.

Hope I didn't confuse you, Jim

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Good. I couldn't figure out where I'd went wrong. I'm a close-enough kind of gal, so it looks like I just should've figured 85% of the buttermilk amount and 20% instead of 50% water for the honey. Thanks!