The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need info on hydration levels in GF bread

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Need info on hydration levels in GF bread

I understand that Gluten Free is a whole different specialty but then-so is Whole wheat and so is Rye. GF is not discussed at the same level as these other breads and I'd like to initiate that now. I learned so much on this forum about how ingredients behave and right now I need to understand how the different starches and non-wheat flours behave in a dough. Hydration levels are part of that.

Does anyone have any experience in this area? Articles? Links?

I have followed JeurgenKrauss's experiments with great interest and would love to see more. Laura T has made some amazing sourdough GF loaves and while I do sourdough with my wheat bread, I'm not ready for that learning curve yet.

Maybe this is the last place a Gluten Free baker would look but I believe there is so much a wheat based and a gluten free baker have to offer each other. I just made a GF loaf with a water roux-that idea came from my wheatbaking experience! There is a lovely looking Japanese Milk Bread (GF!) I'd love to try soon and the techniques sound almost identical to my wheat based experience.

Let's get some dialogue going.

Samantha M's picture
Samantha M
clazar123's picture
clazar123

Thank you for responding to my rather strident request. I can't write a post when I am on my way out the door- all the time urgency came through as a rather militant-sounding call to arms and I certainly did not mean to sound that way.

SmanthaM I read through your whole site and was glad of it. It sounds like a lot of your information is still being converted over from gluten bread to nongluten.  Actually, that tells me that a lot of nongluten behaves similarly. What I have to get used to is how the gels (psyllium,flax) and poss the gums (xanthan,guar,gelatin,pectin) behave in terms of calculating hydration.They absorb the water that is calculated in the formula but they affect the Bread Hydration (crumb hydration) a bit differently. So- Is there a ratio of gel/gum to water to flour that will ultimately effect the Bread Hydration. Perhaps the gel/gum as a percentage of the flour/hydration level. I am struggling with mathematical relationships-it would probably be a matrix or an advanced calculus calculation that can generate a table for us non-math people.

Bread Hydration as separate from Dough hydration- I do like the concept of thinking about them separately, whether it is a gluten or nongluten dough. I might post and seek some of the scientists on the site to expound on this concept a bit.

Thank you.

Samantha M's picture
Samantha M

Yes nongluten behaves similarly not exact but near and thats due to the blend of gf flours high in protein and added starches and the binders used, psyllium to be specific. Dough hydration affects the bread hydration. And because the use of psyllium in gf bread is a fairly new component, there is still alot to discover, like 'is there a ratio of psyllium to water to flour. We are the ones to discover this. It is all trial and error for us. But what I have learnt is that going back to basics of bread making is key to understanding gf bread making. We have become accustomed to things being quick and easy and commercially viable but good bread takes time! We are trying to replace just one thing in gf bread baking and thats gluten. Yet we are told in gf world that several eggs are to be used, milk powder must be added, this and that and we won't have a dough but a batter???? All these cliches just to replace one thing? Bread used to be of just four ingredients and it is the processes of bread (mixing, kneading, fermentation time, hydration, bakers percentage, ratios etc) that made the final product. Keeping that in mind and adjusting for the gf aspects that effect the dough and bread (blend of flours, psyllium). Thats why its still all trial and error. Every time you bake a loaf of gf bread right down the exact amount of ingredients used, how you mixed them together, how long left to rise etc etc. Because this is the information thats being cried out for by gf bread bakers. 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

And what I mean by that is that whole wheat breads have unique handling characteristics,rye bread is a very unique subspecialty that requires very different handling and techniques than white flour or whole wheat,and then there is all the sweet doughs. All of these have different techniques to handle different ingredients to get the most out of those ingredients.

Why is GF any different? It requires different handling and techniques just like whole wheat and rye. So we have to become familiar with the myriad of ingredients and how they behave. Our skills in developing wheat or rye based dough is valuable in learning how to handle these other interesting flours. I believe the same vocabulary applies and the same concepts are useful to know.

Let's bake deliciously and share out experiences. 

Samantha M's picture
Samantha M

And I totally agree with you!!!! I think thats why I have become completely obsessed with gf bread baking. Bread was the only one thing I deeply missed since going gf. As I looked in further about gf bread baking I was disappointed as what was involved. I was already using psyllium as a dietary requirement for my IBS-C so I knew how it worked. When I used it to replace the gums, thats how I discovered I could make gf bread dough not batter and I didn't need eggs etc, just near basic bread ingredients. Then I saw that others on the internet were using psyllium and other binders like flax and chia and were creating doughs too!

My next attempt I am going to try 100% hydration. 450g flour blend, 450g water and 20/10g psyllium and flax. My next project I would like to do is working the formulas for a gf bread recipe also the mixing times, the fermenting times, baking time and temperature etc as I think these all conduct towards successful gf bread baking. If I can get a basis for a formula and procedures that will establish towards being experimented and perfected by others.

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Why is GF any different?

I'll give you one reason, in no way trying dampen your enthusiasm for GF baking: tradition.  

Personally, culture and traditional are a huge part of what intrigues me about baking.  With GF grains, there are long traditions of baking flat breads, making porridges, and fermenting the grains, but I don't see much history of making "bread" as we know it and certainly not of making mock-wheat breads with them.  There is nothing wrong with trying to do so... there is also nothing wrong with trying to play Metallica songs on the cello... but it doesn't really do justice to the centuries of tradition and experimentation that have developed trying to express the essence of the materials in question, in my mind.  Mochi seems like a much better expression of essential rice-ness than a pale pasty baguette does.  Baguettes are an exquisite expression of wheat-ness. 

I guess there are folks who like being at the vanguard of experimentation and creating new culture, others who prefer participating in those cultures and traditions.  When I want to be on the vanguard, I listen to electronic music and write code.  When I want tradition, I bake.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Wheat is definitely a very common and popular grain and there is a lot of history involved with wheat being the basis for bread. Wheat has become synonymous with bread. However, I would challenge that wheat is the ONLY grain that can make bread.  No one can argue that a wheat based baguette is absolutely delicious and I would never hold a  pale pasty object up for admiration as a baguette. That would never make the grade. I am not trying to make an imitation baguette.  I think that very delicious  things can be made with GF grains and they should stand on their own merits. It would be absolutely wonderful if we could learn how to work with non-wheat/gluten free grains to make absolutely delicious loaves and rolls. Baking is a comforting tradition but let's be open to the possibilities of baking something new.... and quite delicious.

Samantha M's picture
Samantha M

Thats it Clazar123! Same traditions-different ingredients-all delicious!

Wheat was/has/is the grain always used because it was easy to grow and harvest etc and so it has always been favoured and other grains not given the chance to have all the time spent on as wheat did. Perhaps and maybe.

The bread I make is wholesome bread. I can make lovely fresh sandwiches. I can toast it. It has a even medium crumb and a tender with a slight chew crust. I can knead it. It rises up for the first occasion and again for a second - adding more flavour and texture to the bread. I have even made sourdough for a real flavour explosion! And it is gluten free!

No more batter instead of dough resulting in a cake like texture rather than bread texture.

It not possible to dampen my enthusiasm as I have too much knowledge and experience to give up hope on gluten free bread! And I'm a optimist!