Sourdough Hydration Theory
I've been wondering about the actual hydration of sourdough starter. When I make my bread, I usually feed my starter in increments. Assume it's 100% hydration. I take it it out of refrigeration. Remove half. Feed that half equal amounts water and flour. I come back when it is active and it ways slightly less. In subsequent feedings it's also less. I thought it was my scales They're not digital., but I've used digital scales and it also happens. So I assume a certain percentage has escaped as gas. The microorganisms take water and flour, eat them, and turn it into other compounds. Some of this is CO2. Some of this must also be the cellular structure that makes up the organisms. It seems when I make different kinds of bread using different flours and/or different ratios of various flours the dough has different levels of "stickiness". As the dough develops it becomes less sticky. I've always assumed that it's because of different flours, gluten development, absorbtion, humidity, etc. However, now I've been thinking that maybe it's partly because of the makeup of the organisms alive in the fermenting dough. I mean the cells aren't likely equal part solids and water. This would change the hydration level of the dough. Maybe it's insignificant. Maybe it changes with different types of flours, fermentation times, temperature or whatever conditions happens to exist. Does anybody else have any thoughts/opinions/theory/facts on this?