The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Austrian flours and hydration

pdp11's picture
pdp11

Austrian flours and hydration

I am trying to work my way through the recipies in FWSY, but my dough is way too wet. Even using 10% less water than the book suggests, my dough is really a batter. Stretch and fold is impossible. It's completely liquid at 65% hydration.

I blame the flour, but I don't know how to fix the problem.

We have 2x2x3 types of "wheat" flour here. Austrians have two numbers that classifies the flour, 480 and 700, but each type comes in both "white" and "dark" varieties, and each "white" or "dark" variety comes in "coarse", "medium", or "fine". Btw, "dark" is not whole wheat, there's a separate category for that. I believe "dark" means "spelt flour".

I have no idea what is the difference betwen the 480 and the 700 type of flour. I have tried "white" fine flour in both 480 and 700 type, and they seem the same to me (a.i. not good for american bread recipes). There is no protein or ash content written on the packaging.

Coincidentally, the "white" flour isn't very white at all, which I don't particularly mind (I like darker bread). But the fact that it's significantly darker than american AP flour, means it's significantly different in some way so the recipes don't work.

Anyway, I have tried various brands of this "white" flour, and the problem is that the dough is way too wet. As I said, it's a batter. Should I reduce the hydration even lower? How low should I go? Is the problem somewhere else?

Thanks!

bottleny's picture
bottleny

The numbers on the bag are about the ash percentage: 480 = Ash 4.8%; 700= Ash 7%

"700" is not spelt flour. Spelt flour is Dinkelmehl in German.

The protein content of European flour is less than that in US.

https://www.cooksinfo.com/german-flours

pdp11's picture
pdp11

Thanks. They have Dinkelmehl and Weizenmehl in both type 480 and type 700 here. I used Weizenmehl throughout.

Here are some pictures of this lame attempt: https://imgur.com/a/PYLw2SD.

As you can see, the bread was completely flat, and the "dough" stuck to the banneton like crazy (actually it was so liquid that poured through the banneton). And you can see that the "white" flour (Weizenmehl) is not white at all.

I made a new batch of dough (60% of this "white" flour, whatever it is, 30% whole wheat, 10% rye). I started at 60% hydration, which was too stiff, and then I added enough water using my wet hands until it felt right. Let's see how this next one will turn out.

pdp11's picture
pdp11

Also, this website says that the numbers are different between Germany and Austria: https://www.whereiserinna.com/2017/10/30/how-to-buy-flour-in-austria.

This says that type 700 in Austria is type 550 in Germany.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

definitely contains more gluten than 550 or 480.  It takes longer to hydrate than a 480.  Always hold back a little water when changing recipes from one country to the next. Or when working with unfamiliar recipes or ingredients. I check recipe hydration, salt and such before mixing up a big batch of dough.  You can easily experiment with the flours on a small scale to get used to them and the way they behave.  Get a scale and weigh the ingredients is my first suggestion.  Then weigh out 50g in several small bowls and add different amounts of water for various hydrations.  50g water for 100%, 40g for 80%, and so on... 35g for 70%. 30g for 60%. 25g water for 50%. 50% hydration is very possible here!  Play with them, stir them up with your fingers and let them sit 15 minutes to hydrate and play with them again.  Take note on the texture, feel and get some idea how one particular flour reacts.  A general rule of 50 to 65% for the w450 to w550 universal flour is a good guide.  With this experiment you can also get a feel for feeding sourdough starters and their hydrations when mixing.

 (When done playing and collecting info, Compost or add up the flour and water weights and make a bread.  On flour weight, 2% for salt and 1 to 2 % for yeast and/or sugar. ) 

Check your labels on the flour package.  Under the 100g info, look for the Ballaststoffe, that's fiber and will tell you more about ash content and how much water the flour will absorb.  The higher the gram or %, the more water the fiber will absorb and it generally coincide with a higher protein content.  Eiweiß = Protein.   Different grains will also absorb at different rates.  So if you are interested read up on various grains and their nutritional values.  I save my flour inside their original bags and drop the whole bag into storage containers.  That way I always have the info and keep the bugs out.

 (I just checked over a bag of Finis Feinstein weizenmehl, universal type W480 and no info on the package other than recipes and some links but it also says it contains weizenmehl mit weizenkeimen,  weizenkeimen are sprouts so there is sprout flour also in it. I don't buy this flour often, it must have been on sale.  I like reading the info panels.)

I find the 71% hydration in an American 1-2-3 recipe can be too wet for w480 flour.   I tend to hold back on the water amount.  Adding it only if needed.  Rye takes more water to hydrate and often needs 75 to 85% depending on the ash content.  The higher the ash and protein contents, the more it absorbs.  Whole wheat will also absorb more water than white flour but it takes a little bit longer.  Einkorn is a great tasting flour but takes about half an hour to fully hydrate so if using it for pancakes, for example, let it sit half an hour then stir before frying or baking and add more liquids later if needed.  Good to mix it with wheat for a finer texture. A great opportunity here to try flours you can't find in the states or in England.  There are so many wonderful flours you just have to learn a little bit how to use them and make them work for you.  Also check out the variety of bread spices and seeds available.

Mini

bottleny's picture
bottleny

Thanks, good to know that they are not the same. I did not notice that in the beginning, as I presumed that they were the same.

Here is another chart showing the corresponding flour types in US & European flours

http://hanseata.blogspot.com/2012/05/my-pantry-flour-type-translation.html

albacore's picture
albacore

I seem to recall the pdp11 was a computer from way back in the the 70's. I'm not a computer geek, but somewhere in the shed I have a compressed air fitting that came from the mighty Atlas computer at Manchester University (one of the world's first supercomputers!) when it got scrapped!

Good luck with your baking ventures - I think Mini has already put you on the right track.

Lance

pdp11's picture
pdp11

Hehehe, yes, the PDP-11 was a computer from the 70s.

 

pdp11's picture
pdp11

Thanks everyone for all the help, especially Mini!

I made a new bread today. Rather, I started it yesterday after my failure: https://imgur.com/a/1jpiy0x

In the same fermentation vessel as yesterday's dough (which I didn't wash), I put:

  • 300g Austrian white flour (same flour as yesterday)
  • 150g Austrian whole wheat flour
  • 50g Austrian rye flour
  • 300g water

Autolyse 30 min. Then:

  • 1g dry active yeast
  • 11g salt
  • extra water using wet hands until dough feels right.

Bulk ferment for 5 hours. Flour, water, room temperature is all 27C.

Shape and proof in refrigerator for 14 hours. Refrigerator smelled like flowers in the morning.

Bake in dutch oven for 30 min (covered) and 25 min (uncovered) at 245C.

It tasted absolutely fantastic, but how can I get more oven spring?

David R's picture
David R

Oven spring is only possible when the dough still has some "rising potential" left - if it has already reached its maximum, then not much will happen in the oven.

Imagine if you made some dough and left it alone for far too long - first it would expand to maximum size, but later on, it would fall down.

I'm using false numbers, but if dough has reached only 95% of maximum when you put it into the oven, then oven spring may allow it to reach 110%. But if it has already reached 100% before you bake it, then the oven will only make 101%. False numbers, but hopefully it gives an idea.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Dont know if it's just me but I can't pull up imgur...links.

What was your increase in volume before and after the kuhlschrank retard? How cold is it in there?

Yeast 1g, instant or fresh?  Wait, dry active?  Where did it come from? Is it the kind of yeast that has to be activated in very warm water first?  I only ask because I haven't seen it here and I once threw 10g active dry into a cold dough in Korea and it took hours, about 4 to activate before starting a bulk rise.  

I have had w900.   

Mini

pdp11's picture
pdp11

pdp11's picture
pdp11

It rose about 2-3 times in the fridge, almost filling up the 23cm banneton. The yeast was regular packaged yeast from Billa. Not fresh yeast, but the instant kind. In the fridge I think it's about 1 degree Celsius.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Does look a bit sturdy.  :). those packages are 7g (not one gram.)  So then there was too much yeast action going on too early.   Wore out the dough matrix.  Easy fix, use a lot less yeast or shorten all the times.  At today's temp one 7 g instant yeast package can finish a bulk rise in about 2 hours.

That is one very cold fridge!  Mine is between 4 and 6°C.  

pdp11's picture
pdp11

Ah, no. Sorry, I used 1 gram of yeast out of the 7 gram package. Should have been more clear.

Also, yes, my house is very, very warm. It's 27C.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

ok, for more loft, try shortening the bulk rise. You will have to experiment. Shaping and retarding the dough so early will cut back on the loft.

Folding the dough after a bulk rise will strengthen the matrix by folding it on top of itself.  If you try bulking in just a bowl. Shaping after the retarding phase should give you a short final rise in the banneton and a higher loaf.

its just one way... there are others.  Is the fridge really only 1°C?

Could also repeat everything the same as before and use cold water. It will then chill faster.

pdp11's picture
pdp11

After the bulk rise, should I degas the dough before shaping, or should I try to retain as much gas as possible?

I think the fridge really is 1C, I will heave to measure it again.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And what kind of crumb you want.  I would poke the big gas bubbles. Try different things and see what you like.  Also makes a difference how you plan on eating it. Each time the dough rises and falls in the fridge , it is also degassing.  A can banneton is a good insulator, maybe it keeps the dough too warm.  Could also try cooling the dough first and shaping with cold dough for long banneton retard.  Lots of options.  You're the boss.

Scoring: might want to try a score that doesn't cut across the top making the top middle expand sideways. Leave the middle solid and make cuts elsewhere.  One trick is just to place one hand, palm in the middle and cut lines between fingers, add a few more cuts where the wrist blocked scoring.  Another is a pinwheel.  Or a tick-tac-toe board with a generous middle square.  You're only limited by your own imagination!

Mini

pdp11's picture
pdp11

Thank you!