The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SD Hydration

old baker's picture
old baker

SD Hydration

I'm getting into baking SD and it seems that all the recipes I've tried produce a very slack dough that is difficult to work with.  My latest try used a published recipe that calls for 100g starter, 300g bread flour, 50g whole wheat flour, and 340g water.  I tossed the dough out after an overnight in the fridge because it still seemed like thick pancake dough.  Assuming the starter is 50:50 water and flour, I calculate the hydration to be 87%.

That seems way to high for a workable dough.  Either the recipe is wrong or my starter isn't right.  The starter appears like it  should.  Any ideas?  What is the normal hydration for most SD breads?

Maverick's picture
Maverick

That is really high for bread flour. Technically it is 97.5% hydration (390/400), but still high. A lot of recipes these days call for about 80%, but I don't recommend that to start with. You can use the typical bread hydration of 65%-70% to make it easier. In fact, there are three recipes I recommend often and the highest is 71.4% hydration. It is fine to start with the highest one, but work your way up to working with 80+%

http://www.wildyeastblog.com/my-new-favorite-sourdough/  This is 65%
http://www.wildyeastblog.com/more-sour-sourdough/  This is  67% but has more whole grains to compensate
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/9346/123-easy-formula-sourdough-bread  This is 71.4% and easy to remember

Edited to correct calculations.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

100 g starter at 100% hydration = 50 g flour + 50 gr water.

300 g bread flour + 50 gr whole wheat flour  + 50 gr flour in the starter = 400 gr total flour.

50 gr water in the starter + 340 gr water = 390 g total water.

390 / 400 = 97.5% total hydration.

Yeah, that's too high, especially for mostly bread flour.  SD dough is usually 70% to 90% depending on the percentage of whole grain. Whole grain is "thirstier".  (I use 89.8% final hydration for 100% whole grain.)

 

 

Maverick's picture
Maverick

Corrected my post.

old baker's picture
old baker

The recipe calls for 100g whole wheat flour, not 50 as I originally posted.  Using that, hydration is 86.66%.  Not as bad as 97%, but still too wet for me.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

sourdough with an instant yeast recipe, I use a slightly lower hydration.  All things equal, the bacteria in the culture tends to make the dough feel and act wetter as fermentation progresses than the same dough fermented with just yeast.  I tend to mix up the dough slightly stiffer if using dough feel to determine hydration.

I also find a greater difference when salt is forgotten.  A sourdough will feel a lot more loose before the salt is added.  

One of the first things I do with an unfamiliar recipe is figure out the hydration, if it is higher than what I'm used to, I hold back on the water.  Usually adding 65% and add any rest as needed.  If any is left over, use it to wet hands if dough feels dry later on when handling.

old baker's picture
old baker

Good points.  Being new to SD, I was strictly following the recipes.  But from now on, I'll hold back on the water and work up to a dough firmness that I can work with.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

I take all bread recipes/formulas as guidelines, not hard and fast rules,  Hydration is usually one thing that needs to be adjusted for local conditions and personal preferences.

Flour is not flour all over. Two samples of the same flour that came out of the same mill and go to different places can have widely varying moisture content.  

Even more so for different brands.  Different brands can easily require several percentage points difference in water.