The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Batch sizes and hydration

LevaiNation's picture

Batch sizes and hydration

Oh The fresh Loaf. My fave place in the interwebz!

Questions questions...

I work my bread in 12qt. cambros. 4 loaves (2k flour) at a time. Recently I got a new bigger oven and have been trying to duplicate my production so I tried making 4 kilo batches,  8 loaves at a time. But with that amount of dough in a cambro, I found it hard to stretch and fold, to turn the dough, and somehow it feels way wetter than I'm used to. I'm going for 72% hydration (I'm in the tropics), but I'm thinking I might need to go lower...

Do bigger batches require different ratios? This dough feels very watery. Perhaps having relatively less exposed surface vs the heart of the dough holding all the water makes a big difference. 

Anyone trying to do such big batches by hand? Tips?


Gracias camaradas,


MichaelLily's picture

I do 10 kg dough per 3.5 gallon bin and keep it covered. same ratios whether I do a lot or a little. 

jimbtv's picture

I have found that simply expanding the formula while remaining true to the ratios has worked fine for me. One of my formulas scales from 2 kg to 20 kg and I don't vary anything.

As to your 12 qt. Cambro container, the larger the load the more I tend to ferment in tubs instead of vertical containers. The tubs make it easier to load and unload. A releasing agent like a cooking spray helps with larger loads.

Reading your post makes me believe you are trying to do the s & f INSIDE the container. If that is the case I would suggest dumping the dough onto a bench or table, doing your s & f there, then placing it back in the container. The larger the load the less likely you will be able to work the dough efficiently in the container.