The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Working with High Hydration

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bikesnbread's picture
bikesnbread

Working with High Hydration

I'm trying to get working with high hydration sourdough. I can never get them to rise quite how I'd like. It seems like while I let them rise, a hard layer starts to form on the top that weighs the rest of the loaf down. I didn't take any pictures before, but here's a crumb shot:

and just another shot:

it came out criminally under cooked. But those weird crusty bits on the edges are residue from the loaf rising then sinking back down.I let it rise in a bread pan overnight.

It's hard to tell from this picture, but it lost a fair amount of rise. I did leave it in the fridge overnight. Could that be a cause?

WoodenSpoon's picture
WoodenSpoon

Raising then falling is pretty indicative of over proofing, some other things that occur to me as possible causes of your problems are insufficient gluten development (which can be tricky to dial in when learning to work with wet dough) also in my mind really high hydration doughs are not super suited to being baked in pans or to overnight proofing. If you desire a long cool fermentation maybe try an overnight bulk ferment then shape and bake the following day. As for the skin, just pop that baby in a plastic bag and that should sort ya out. How hydrated is that dough? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

recipe?

bikesnbread's picture
bikesnbread

2 cups of starter, 2 cups flour, 1 cup water. That's around 66% hydration, I think. I put it in a pan because I don't really know what else to do with it when it's that wet. Also, my end goal is to make a decent sandwich bread, and I want it to fit in my plasticware

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

if two cups of flour weigh between 250g to 290g  and one cup of water weighs between 226g (8 oz) to 250g (metric cup)  then the dough without the starter is anywhere from 77% to 100% hydration.  If the starter is thiner than the dough hydration will be higher.  That would explain why the dough will not stay risen, there is too much water in the dough.  Gas can escape faster than it can be trapped inside the dough.  This is a very difficult hydration to work with.

You might have more success if you try  3 cups of Wheat bread flour to one cup of water.  or a little less water if the starter is runny.  It should make a dough that can be shaped into a soft ball instead of a pourable batter.

(water weight divided by flour weight x 100 = %)  

WoodenSpoon's picture
WoodenSpoon

How hydrated is your starter?