General hydration of pre ferment question
I've discovered and found this blog fascinating. I've taken some of the books discussed out of the library but do not have any on hand (going to buy The Bakers Apprentice this week) so please excuse the elementary nature of my question.
Today I am making Floyds take on Rustic Bread. I started the preferment yesterday.I had to add virtually twice as much water as was called for to the preferment in order to get it "hydrated". In my head hydrated, would mean adding enough water so that the flour will just begin to stick together without any large "floury" patches. Is this correct? I'm using two year old Dakota Mills unbleached bread flour. Does the fact that it is this old mean it would require that much more water then the recipe called for? Can someone give me a definition for what hydration means in this context?
Secondly,how does this additional water I had to add to the preferment effect the amount of water I need to add to the "final dough"? I'm geussing I need to try to use no more than the totall amount when I'm done mixing the dough?
Any thought will be much appreciated. Looking forward to how it proceeds. Thanks so much.