The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

"Soft Dough"

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bob13's picture
bob13

"Soft Dough"

I have not been baking bread very long, but I notice some doughs, like the tangzhong are so soft, supple and easy to work with, while others are firmer, dry, and stiff.  I enjoy making the tangzhong as it consistently makes a nice loaf for eating, but also like the crusty artisan loaf.  Aren't  all doughs to be soft and supple or am I making a mistake?  Is it what I have read as enriched vs lean is what makes the dough so different.??  Tried focaccia yesterday for the first time, what a sticky mess but it came out soooooo good.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Doughs vary a great deal in hydration (ratio of water to flour).  Bagels, for example, are really stiff. Sandwich breads usually in between, French breads quite wet, and focaccia and ciabatta super wet.  

When making artisan breads, "The wetter, the better" usually holds true, but you can hit a point where a dough is so wet it can't hold its shape.

A scale comes in really handy for referencing this stuff: you'll see folks here talk about baking a 72% loaf, which is 72g of water for every 100g flour.  That is what they are talking about.

 

bob13's picture
bob13

Is there an idea hydration %, I keep hearing 70% is sort of a bench mark?

WoodenSpoon's picture
WoodenSpoon

It all depends upon what you are making and what flours you are using, but 70 or so is probably a pretty good place to practice.