The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Laurel's Kitchen Basic WW Hydration...again!

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Laurel's Kitchen Basic WW Hydration...again!

I feel both excited and like an idiot.

It's been awhile since I posted, but I had been having trouble with Laurel's Kitchen Basic WW. It was just sloppy dough, more scooted around the counter than kneaded, and more scooped into a loaf pan than shaped. Prone to air pockets. Yummy, though.

For whatever unknown reason, this last weekend I poured part of the liquid in, stirred waited a minute and poured some more, until all of it was in the dough.

PERFECT! I could knead it, shape it, all that stuff.

And yummiest I've ever made, at least if you ask me. :)

Why did I change the way I put in the liquid this time? I dunno! I knew WW took awhile to absorb the liquid before. I just hadn't thought to apply that knowledge in this way. Oh well...

SUCCESS! 

Blessings,

Voni

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

Try soaking overnight.

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

That's an idea! I'll have to experiment. Thanks! I take it you simply put the dough in the fridge overnight and let it come to room temp before kneading, shaping, proofing and baking?

 

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

You can certainly do that, but the normal technique is just to hydrate the WW and leave it on the counter. This softens the bran enough so that when you mix the dough the next day, it doesn't do as much damage to the gluten.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Isn't it amazing how small adjustments can have such big effects?

Paul

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Such a small thing, Paul. Such a silly, small thing. Huge difference!

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

If you like baking with ww you might like to give Whole Grain Breads a go too.  Peter Reinhart's epoxy method really takes a 100% ww loaf up a notch.   I love Laurel's stuff too but now I bulk overnight soakings with all the breads of hers I bake.  Makes a big difference.

~Janet

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Wow, Janet. I got Reinhart's book for last Christmas but have been too intimidated to try it, especially when I couldn't even get a basic whole wheat recipe to work right. I'm going to have to re-read and give it a try. I needed your encouragement. Bulk overnight soakings? How does that work, if you don't mind sharing?

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I used to use Laurel's book when my children were young and I could never get my loaves to be anything but a brick.

When I found PR's book when I took up baking in ernest a couple of years ago it made a huge difference in all of my loaves.

The best I can recommend is start with his Master Loaf recipe.  It really is quite simple due to his step by step directions and it is a loaf that has always turned out great for me.

The overnight soaking are used for it and that is when I learned about them.  They are really pretty simple to do.  YOur just have to plan ahead a bit.

The evening before baking he instructs you to mix up a Biga (which is just flour, water and a touch of IY).  Once mixed it is placed in the refrig. for the night.  The 'technical' name for a Biga is a pre-ferment since it has IY in it so it begins to ferment a portion of your flour prior to be added to your final dough.  This adds more flavor plus added softness to the final loaf.

The Soaker is also mixed the evening before baking and that includes flour, water and a bit of salt.  It can be left out on your counter overnight. ( When it is hot I put mine in the cellar where it is cooler.)  A soaker allows gluten to begin to develop plus it softens the grains too.

The next morning you take the biga out of the refrig. a couple hours before you are going to mix the dough so it can warm up.  When you are ready to mix all the ingredients the biga and soaker simply get added to the final ingredients and the mixing time is generally shorter due to 'wet' time for the grains the night before.  I generally break the bigs and soaker up into smaller pieces and then add the final ingredients on top of them.  I do use a mixer to knead.  I also cut down on the final IY and use only 5g.

This formula produces a wonderful ww sandwich loaf and a base to add all sorts of ingredients to.  Once I baked it I went through the entire book and baked many more of the breads in it and found them all to be great.  By the time I had done that I had the 'hang' of what he was doing and I began to convert other recipes from Laurel's book to use his epoxy method.

 If you do a search for Hanseata's Blogs you can find a lot of her breads baked using this method too and she bakes with a lot of ww too.

Good Luck! 

Janet