The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Back at it, first time trying 80% hydration. need suggestions/help

hey.ryanm's picture

Back at it, first time trying 80% hydration. need suggestions/help

Hey all! 

First time poster, long time listener. 

I haven't baked in over a year and had to start a new starter. After about two weeks of daily feedings I thought I'd go for a batch. 

Decided to go straight into a high hydration 80% dough. I've only ever worked with mid 60s% and kind of didn't know what I was getting myself into hahaha. Had quite the trouble shaping and let my frustration get the best of me and rushed it thinking it was going to ultimately be a failure. 

The loaves actually turned out quite okay for new starter, first bake, and first go at high hydration. 

Crust and crumb is very enjoyable but the oven spring was next to nothing and they ended up becoming flat/saucer like. 

I think between not pre-shaping/shaping well enough, youngish starter, and the bowls (too large) I'm using in place of bannetons for the long cold ferment are the contributing reasons for the lack of oven spring. 

I'm not using any temperature readings (no therm at the moment). Dough day was on the chilly side so I don't think it was over fermented, could be under fermented?

Here are the specs: 

80% KA Bread Flour

20% Whole Wheat Flour

80% H20

25% Starter (100% Hydration)

2% Salt


2hr True Autolsyse

Stretch and Fold 5 times at 30 minute intervals

Bulk fermented for a total of 3 Hours (was not really crazy bubbly but jiggled well and was rising)

Pre Shaped/Shaped (horribly lol) and cold fermented it in fridge for about 19hrs or so. 


I'm wondering now if along the other problems I stated above if I S&F too much and din't really let it sit long enough untouched during the bulk ferment? 

I'm going to take it down a notch and have my next batch be 70% hydration to get back in the swing of things while letting my starter get into it's own groove for my baking schedule which is only 1 day a week right now. 

Would love to know what you think and any tips, or if you're noticing something I'm not noticing.

Either way, it tastes great and I'm so happy to be back baking! 


hey.ryanm's picture

Also! The loaf itself is just under 700g 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How did the dough feel when it was shaped?  

I might try..... shaping after the dough has cooled down a bit in the fridge. It might have used another fold or two.

The crust color is keeping me from thinking over fermented.   

hey.ryanm's picture

The dough felt very slack and wasn't holding any shape, and was pretty sticky. I was attributing that to the hydration?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and reduce the hydration to where it is comfortable to work.  Then slowly increase the hydration as your experience increases.  Flours do have their limit and they do vary with how much water they absorb.