The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye Starter Hydration

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PetraR's picture
PetraR

Rye Starter Hydration

What is better, a 100% Hydration or a 133% Hydration.

I certainly noticed that , when kept it at 133% Hydration the Starter will tripple in size within 3.5 hours, if I have it at it at 100% Hydration it will take about 8 hours or more to double or tripple.

What I like to know is, what Hydration would rise a dough better?

Petra

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I bake rye loaves  between 83% and 85% final hydration for a 100% rye flour recipe. But builds for starters and preferments can contain higher hydrations to boost yeast.

I find the wetter the starter the faster it ferments but there might be more going on in your comparisons for such a large difference.  Did they both contain the same amount of flour?  

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Hi Mini Oven,

Both contained the same amount of flour. 

I have not dared to go higher than 75% hydration in a Dough.

My prefered Hydration for a Wheat and Wholemeal bread is 60%-65%

 

 

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

than wheat ones.  Compare two differently hydrated rye starters and see what happens.  Aha! you slipped in an edit...  was the 100% hydrated starter wheat?  That would explain it.

Have you tried any high ryes? 75% rye and more in the flour mix?

 

PetraR's picture
PetraR

My Wheat Starter is most certainly slower than the Rye Starter, he lives in the fridge as I prefer the Rye Starter for baking now.

I shall do the test of 2 differently hydrated rye starters next week.

I do prefer the 133 Hydration one, I just wondered which one would rise a bread better since the 133% one doubles/ trippels so fast, he must have better Bread rising power?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

will also influence the speed at which they mature or reach peak.  if you want to test raising power, feed each starter 1:10 ratio and give them a bread hydration of 65% for the wheat and 83% for the rye, the flours the same weight and race them in identical jars or tall glasses.  Let them reach peak.  the rye may be faster but the wheat will rise taller.  That is the truth of the grain differences.  If the wheat rises only as much as the rye, then the wheat starter needs some yeast boosting.

PetraR's picture
PetraR

What would be a 1:10 ration.

I think my brain is still asleep since this Morning. * hangs head in shame *

Feeling a bit confused.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

10g starter to 100g flour 

then add water to get the particular dough type.  Bread flour 65%  Sifted Rye 83% is its sweet spot hydration. 

No need for any hanging heads.  They are two very different types of flour.

Have some more coffee.  I'm ready for my afternoon pick-me-up.  

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Thank you so much Mini Oven, 

I shall do that after the weekend.

Had my coffee , feeling bit more awake though it is 1.01am here in UK. ooops:)

sandydog's picture
sandydog

Which type of starter will be most beneficial?

Acouple of years ago, someone asked what the point was between using stiff and liquid levain, specifically in Jeffery Hamelman’s book BREAD. Jeffery Hamelman is a well known, and well respected for many years on this site, professional baker/teacher at the King Arthur Bakery and he happily gave an answer to the question.

You are likely to get many different views, from many different bakers, on this site without knowing on what level of knowledge and experience they base those opinions  and of course you are free to adopt any that suit you. For my part I have come to trust the lifetimes knowledge and experience of Hamelman, bearing in mind that almost all his baking has been done in a commercial environment where he bakes more loaves in one shift than most folks bake in a year. Having said that - Here's his answer, I have highlighted bits I find important to my understanding of this matter whilst appreciating that there is no universally accepted "Right" way and I trust that you will appreciate that other points of view are often a product of the environment in which those bakers find themselves.

Here is Jeffrey’s response:

 

I’ve maintained two starters for a number of years: a firm German-style rye culture (made the third week of August, 1980), and a liquid levain kept at 125% hydration (it’s about a dozen years old). We use the rye for all our rye breads, and the liquid is the base levain for all other breads. We convert this one to stiff or to whole grain as needed, but only for the build(s) that will then be used in a final dough mix, not in order to continue perpetuating stiff or whole grain starters. These methods are practical and not terribly labor intensive, and we use them successfully at the King Arthur Bakery every day. By the way, our starters get two meals a day, seven days a week. On Christmas, New Years, Easter, and other holidays when we are closed, they receive one meal, as a baker is in for a short time on the holidays in order to make preferments and do some other things to enable us to open again next day.

Certainly, for the baking of just a couple of loaves or so, there is no reason to keep more than one starter. While it’s good (and important in my opinion) for today’s ever more skilled bakers to know how to convert a liquid starter to stiff and vice versa, there’s no reason to necessarily do that because the amount of mother culture going into the builds is very small. Small adjustments in flour or water will compensate at the time of the build so that levain consistency is correct. And if one maintains just a liquid or a firm white culture, he or she can easily give a couple of meals of rye flour in advance of making rye bread–that will suffice; there’s no need for occasional rye bakers to perpetuate a rye culture.

Why do some bakers prefer to maintain a liquid levain culture and others a firm levain? On the face of it, I’d say it’s mostly about personal preference–some bakers prefer the ease of mixing a firm ball of dough, while others find mixing a batter consistency starter easier. As for all that science about acetic acid developing more favorably in firm environments and lactic acid in looser ones, that’s all good and true, but it’s ultimately up to the baker to determine the flavor of the bread. For instance, what if I kept only a liquid levain culture and wanted to make a bread on the acetic side, but didn’t want to convert to a firm levain? I could do a few things to encourage more sour flavor: I could preferment a higher proportion of the overall flour, I could extend the bulk fermentation somewhat, and of course the easiest way would be to retard the shaped loaves overnight. All of these would encourage more acidity in the final loaves. Treating things in the opposite manner would give milder results. Aren’t we lucky that after all we are the ones who determine the bread’s outcome by our cumulative series of engagements with the dough?

I hope this answers your question adequately. And I hope you and your colleagues are continuing to enjoy both the learning and the resulting breads!

My best,
Jeffrey

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

I have such an intellectual crush on that man.

PetraR's picture
PetraR

I am with you!

PetraR's picture
PetraR

That is fantastic, I think I need his Book!

I have a book by Paul Hollywood, I started my wheat Starter the way he describes it in his book and the Starter is going strong, almost a year old.

I find the Rye Starter easier to handle though and do prefer it at a higher Hydration.

How can one find out what Hydration the Starter is.?

Tinabean's picture
Tinabean

These three paragraphs by Jeffrey have taught me more than all the gobbledeegook bread math stuff I've been trying to wade through.