The Fresh Loaf

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Extra water for extra dry ingredients

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hedera helix's picture
hedera helix

Extra water for extra dry ingredients

If adding extra dry ingredients to a recipe, how much extra water should I add to compensate for their effect on the dough?

I routinely put in small seeds such as linseed, hemp, buckwheat sunflower and pumpkin with no real impact on the bread. But I also have some whole grains of oats, wheat and barley that I want to add as well, but I am worried that they will draw moisture from the mix, making the loaf too dry.

Should I soak these first, or just make a wetter mix and allow it to sort itself out?

I like a seedy loaf, and the more in there the better, but don't want to spoil things by going to far.

 

 

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Hi hh,

I would soak the seeds/grains first. Not only does this prevent them from drawing moisture from the dough, it also provides for better flavor by allowing the flavors of the seeds/grains to better permeate through the dough.

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

hedera helix's picture
hedera helix

Thanks for that, that sounds sensible. How much water? How long for? Would you soak all seeds including sunflower, pumpkin etc, or just the grain types?  

I may be worrying too much about this, but it's good to be able to benefit from those who know about these things.

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

I do both grains and seeds (toast seeds before soaking for more flavor). I'd soak at least 3 hours,up to overnight. How much water depends on what you're soaking and may need some experimentation; you want no "loose" water left over and for the seeds & grains to be soft (able to be chewed, not mushy). Some things absorb more water than others (e.g., grains tend to absorb more than seeds although flax seeds take quite a bit). Sorry I can't give you precise numbers but in general water is somewhere between 75% and 200% of the dry ingredients, by weight (yes, I know, not very helpful).

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I recall in one class I took, the instructor mentioned draining the soaker if any excess water remained at the end.  So, if you're experimenting a bit on how much water to add, that's an option if you overdo it a bit, and you won't add extra moisture to your dough.

 

hedera helix's picture
hedera helix

I soaked some of the seeds I put in my latest batch of bread. I soaked whole wheat groats, and some flax seeds as well. The wheat was superb, lovely bite, good nutty flavour, very pleased with it all round.

The flax also tasted good, but went really slimy after being soaked. It was like each seed was coated in a layer of jelly that couldn't be removed. It was a pain in the backside to mix it in to the dough, and kept escaping. It also had a weird effect on the consistency of the dough, making it ,uch more sticky than it had been before the seeds were added.

I also added sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, buckwheat, millet, sesame, and poppy, not soaking any of these. I love the crunch and nutty flavour of hemp. I may try soaking that and seeing how that changes things in future.

So, on the basis of my experience today, I wouldn't recommend soaking flax, but stand to be corrected if other peoples experienc differs.