The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

soaking water - a beginner's question

pasdedough's picture

soaking water - a beginner's question

Sorry, I am sure that this is answered many times over, but I'm getting confused.

- If I'm soaking coarse oatmeal to include in a sourdough, does the water I use to soak get included in the water %? 

I've got 150g of coarse oatmeal, soaking in 400g boiling water - when that is ready to add to the dough should I add the lot and take 400g water from the total water in my dough?

Or should I drain off/squeeze out as much extra water as possible and still add the full amount of water to autolyse with my flour?

Or something in between?


Arjon's picture

seems to be the concept you're getting at. Since the oats will absorb and hold water, that amount doesn't go into the hydration % of the dough itself. 

It's hard to know exactly how much to count toward the dough, but you can get reasonably close by draining the soaked oats then weighing determine how much water has not been absorbed. It may not be exact because if the oats (in this case) are wetter than the dough you're putting them into, some of the moisture may be pulled out of them during mixing and fermentation. 

Hope that helps.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

When I soak or cook flakes or other ingredients, I sometimes use the dough water from the recipe to soak the flakes, and sometimes I count the weight of the soaker as an ingredient separate from the rest of the dough ingredients (including water or other liquid). It depends on the dough and how wet I want it to be, really. I know this might not be the definitive answer you are looking for, but I've had the luxury of baking enough bread that I can decide which way to do it based on how the dough feels.

You can see an example of this in my post on Heart Bread, where the soaker was calculated as a separate ingredient then carried into the dough formula. When I calculated the overall hydration of the finished dough I included the oats as a 'dry' ingredient and the soaker water as part of the liquid. Hope this makes sense!

pasdedough's picture

for the replies, I understand better!

Unfortunately I don't have any muslin at the moment, which I think would be the only way to strain the water out from the oatmeal, so I think I will 'wing' this dough. I do know more or less what a 70%ish hydration dough feels like, and I want to aim a bit under that, to give myself a chance of shaping it better.

I will see how it turns out, and what lessons I learn... Next time I try adding some grains, I'll go with something easier to strain off, so I can control the hydration better :)