The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Multigrain Questions

preacher1120's picture
preacher1120

Multigrain Questions

I have started working on a multigrain recipe formula; the bulk fermentation is working as I write.  But in this process I have developed some questions.

1. When working with soaked whole grains (oats and millet in this case) do you include the dry grain weight as part of the total flour weight?  If so, or if not then how does one compute hydration percentage for the dough.  I did not include them in the total flour weight in this stab.  However, I planned for an 85% hydration loaf but with the soaked grains added it really feels more like a 65-70% hydration loaf.  

2. I had read in a couple places that 20-40% of the flour in sourdough should be fermented (20% if warm, 40% if cold).  So, I shot for 24%. I was making 2200 grams of dough requiring 1117 grams of various flours plus other ingredients (oil, honey, grains).   So at 24%, 270 grams of the flour was fermented.  My starter is at 100% hydration so that means that I added 540 grams of starter which was far more than I have ever added before.  Am I way off on this?  Am I reducing the chances of getting some good sour flavor in the loaves by using so much starter and then proofing for shorter time? 

Thanks in advance, you beautiful people, for being there for this baker!

Peace,

Sam in Alabam

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Sam.

Regarding your first question: I'm not sure there is a total consensus on this, but I think, usually, the soaker is regarded as a separate ingredient for purposes of calculating baker's percentages. However, what this means is that you end up with a sky high percent hydration (by calculation) that doesn't seem to predict the way the final dough feels, as you have observed.

For example, my favorite multi-grain bread is Hamelman's "5-grain Levain." It uses a big soaker with rye, oats, flax seeds and sunflower seeds, plus a levain. The computed hydration is something like 90%. The final dough acts like a 65-67% hydration dough, because so much of the total water is bound up in the soaker grains and seeds it is not available to hydrate the flour.

It sounds like your dough worked out well.

In response to your second question: It sounds like you are fine. Your point is valid, though. There is a trade off between flavor development and rising time. Less starter will result in a longer fermentation and give you more flavor (not just sourness). If you need a faster fermentation, use more starter, but know the "cost."


David

preacher1120's picture
preacher1120

Thank you, David.  You have precisely described my dilemma.  As I look at my formula the baker's percentage adds to 197%, but feels like 65-70%.  So, that's good!  And I am glad to have learned yet another new thing about this art and craft!

I learn something new with nearly every loaf.  I am also making challah for the first time today, and I'm sure I'll be posting again soon!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Sam.

It sounds like you are on the steep part of the learning curve. Fasten your seat belt, and enjoy the ride!


David

rubato456's picture
rubato456

if longer w/ less starter gives more flavor, then what would an optimal sourdough ferment look like? would it be best to do a ferment at room temp, then once things got going move to frig overnight, degas, shape and let go another night in the refrig to bake next day. how long would be too long in the frig? much appreciated! 

deborah