The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Do hydration levels affect proofing time?

Khaosky's picture
Khaosky

Do hydration levels affect proofing time?

Hi all, been baking since the start of this year and its been one hell of a journey in which by the time of writing i am generally happy with the taste texture and look of my bakes - sometimes would like more rise but ce la vie. 

In fact i solved a lot of issues by regulating my starter more and using it at bang on peak time. 

I have now got to a point where i am not entirely sure what a good loaf looks like anymore if you get what i mean, ive baked 'so many' now and tbh I am happy with them. However i wouldn't mine discussing/diagnosing some of my breads as i have a few questions and quite frankly all the info i have read on TFL just kind of sends me further down the rabbit hole.

My method is largely unchanging from this:

1:2:2 50/50 dark rye and SWBF (strong white bread flour) starter: keep at 78-82 - use at peak

500g WBF 

325g water

75g active starter

10g salt.

 

1. Autolyse w/ salt for 45

2. add starter and Rubaurd method for 5 until starter fully incorp. Then pick up dough, tuck end under and drop, repeat until i have a nice shape boule.

3. Leave for 4 hours 78-82F with S+F after 1st and 2nd hour, coil after 3rd and 4th.

4. pre shape and bench rest 20 - sometimes i don't do this, depends on how the dough feels (i get that this is inconsistent)

5. final shape and proof in bannaton for 2 hours at room temp. Use the poke test, or at least how i understand it. (I used to cold retard but i eliminated the process as i kept getting horrible flat breads - i want to re-incorporate tho).

6. bake for 40 mins on a hot hot oven (250 then turned down to 210) in a glass Pirex dish or when doing a loaf i use a bigger loaf tin on top as a lid. I also spritz the bread with water and the oven for good measure. then 20 mins at 200/190 or until internal temp has reached 210F minimum.

This is largely my process here are some examples:

Some have 20% wholemeal some have 20% einkorn as well, what i would do here is increase the hydration by 3-5%

 This was actually 75% hydration and 20% einkorn and baked in a DO. held barley any shape when out of bannaton. Over proofed? Yet still have lots of open crumb and fairly consistent aswell.

over baked this one a bit so thats why i have the thick crust there.

20% brown wholemeal

seeded with 20% wholemeal

no open crumb but consistent so was happy

ciabatta 100% white bread flour at 80% hydration (just to show i can work with higher hydration)

 

Ok so these breads have been made over the past 6-8 months so i cant remember all details exactly but i feel i have the same issue roughly every time.

 

So my questions are:

1. Open crumb (enough for me to actually eat something on top of the bread) but always a little dense and tight near the base of the bread, is this ok or is this not? (is it over proofed)

2. Some what inconsistent rise - starter is active so is this to do with over proofing/under proofing?

3. do hydration levels affect proofing time? The top picture being 75% flopped out of my basket like the early days (lost all shape) however i find it strange that i still seem to have decent enough gluten structure/strength.

4. in general - and i think this is where experienced bakers and semi proffs on TFL contradict each other, what is the differences between under and over-proofing doughs?

Thanks for any wisdom parted!!!

Ky