October 6, 2016 - 1:15pm

## Starter Hydration

How do you make 100% hydration starter? 75% hydration starter? etc.

How do you figure out the hydration of a starter in a given recipe?

October 6, 2016 - 1:15pm

How do you make 100% hydration starter? 75% hydration starter? etc.

How do you figure out the hydration of a starter in a given recipe?

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First of all, I've never baked with anything but a 100% hydration starter. You use little starter in proportion to the amount of flour and water, so it has never seemed important to me. Others might differ, and some books do.

But the math is important to measuring the hydration of your levain and final dough. In Baking Math flour is always 100%. So to get 75% hydration, if you were going to use 1 oz. of flour, you'd use 3/4 oz of water. If by accident you used 2 oz of water and 1 oz of flour, you'd have a 200% hydration starter, because, again, flour is always 100%.

Hydration is simply the ratio of flour to water expressed as a percentage.

100 g of water divided by 150 g of flour is 100/150=.6666 or 66.67 % hydration. If you know how much flour and water you want in a dough say at 72% hydration then take the total weight of the flour and water say 1000 g and divide by 1.72 (1 or 100% for the flour and .72 or 72% for the water) so 1000.1,72 is 581 g of flour (you are solving for the 1 which is the flour. So 1000 g minus 581 g of flour = 419 g of water. You can check to make sure your math is right by dividing the water 419 g by the flour, 581 g and that should equal .72 or 72% which it does.

Water weight divided by flour weight multiplied by 100 gives the hydration in percent. :)

Mini. I sometmes check for spelling, not often, but not for the wrong word being used.... if it is spelled right:-(

All the above, the key is that the ratio is by weight, not by volume.

75% hydration starter is...

100g flour + 75g water

So if you take 150g starter which is 100% hydration = 75g water + 75g flour.

then simply add 25g flour to 150g of your 100% hydration starter = 75% hydration starter.

75% hydration starter is...

100g flour + 75g water

ooops! hydration is water divided by flour. We both are pretty bad at this Abe:-) Mini had to correct me! OOOPSSSS again

Sorry I thought that plus sign was a divide sign - and I have brand new glasses too- Jeeze

Hydration is water/flour x 100

So 100g flour + 75g water = 75% hydration

75/100 x 100 = 75%

Same difference :)

:) sorry, 100g flour + 75g of water = 175g of

dough!...at 75% hydration ( the rest is correct )Dolly picked up on that one and Elvis is rolling on the floor. Can't get him to stop, silly elf. (And it's been almost a week!)

some recipes call for a stiff starter - sich starters have lower hydration ratio, but most of the time the recipes have 100% hydration starter. But then you play with the hydration ratio of the dough itself.

If you are a beginner, please don't pick a high hydration ratio recipes, they are pretty difficult to deal with when it comes to shaping. Start with something like 65-66% hydration for the dough. And use portion of the starter required in the recipe that can be 100% hydration.

this link below is for a dough calculator, you can easily adjust the hydration ratio by entering all the data in this little form.

http://breadcalc.com/#

Hope this helps! Good luck!

some recipes call for a stiff starter - sich starters have lower hydration ratio, but most of the time the recipes have 100% hydration starter. But then you play with the hydration ratio of the dough itself.

If you are a beginner, please don't pick a high hydration ratio recipes, they are pretty difficult to deal with when it comes to shaping. Start with something like 65-66% hydration for the dough. And use portion of the starter required in the recipe that can be 100% hydration.

this link below is for a dough calculator, you can easily adjust the hydration ratio by entering all the data in this little form.

http://breadcalc.com/#

Hope this helps! Good luck!

expressed in weights, figuring the hydration is easy. I first look at the amount of water and flour. If the flour weight is twice the water weight then the hydration is 50% without doing much math. Same goes for 100% hydration, easy to figure if water weight and flour weight are the same. Some amounts just stand out from experience but I often grab the calculator.

How do you figure out the hydration of a starter in a given recipe?If a recipe asks for starter that is unknown, look carefully at the amounts of starter, flour and water in the recipe.

gives these ratios for his levain/starter.

50 grams levain, 50 grams whole wheat, 50 grams white, 200 grams water this is the scaled down formula.

the original is 100 grams levain, 100 gram whole wheat, 400 grams white and 400 grams of water.

What does that make his levain/starter hydration? 80% hydration? I am clearly confused about his method.

Right now I feed my 50 gram starter + 50 gram water + 50 gram rye flour.

I think you made a mistake when scaling down from his original. The ratios are: 1 Levain : 1 WW : 4 AP : 4 Water

Water / Flour = 4/5 = 80%

Question: should you include the water in the seed levain when calculating the overall hydration of the dough?

yes, just as you include the flour in the calculation of hydration. I don't add the amounts when the seed is under 20g, It doesn't affect the outcome of the calculation enough to include it.

elaborate?

I think I am still confused about the various stages of bread making. How to keep just starter for various bread recipes vs something like Ken Forkish does with levain in his book, he suggests feeding the levain and not just the starter if I am not wrong.

so I'm not quite sure what you mean but I can tall you there are many ways to grow yeast & bacteria. The terminology can get confusing, but remember the wee-beasties are growing constantly They are constantly trying to reproduce and make the food into an environment that will protect them from other bacteria and fungi. Once food dwindles and acids rise, they slow down and wait saving their energy for the next food to come along. We take advantage of this in that we feed them and let them produce a lot of gas for raising our bread dough before the dough can start deteriorating.

We can keep them in many ways.

one jar of culture and feed it util it is big enoughto use. Take out most of it for a recipe and then feed what is left over to continue growing the starter culture (seed.) The big danger to this method is that one day, you use all of the fed starter and forget to save some to feed. Boom! Game over go back to square one and start a new starter culture. With this method you can build in a safety feature by getting into the habit of not washing the starter jar or bowl until you have made sure the starter has been fed. If you baked all of it, you can still get some scrapings or add a little bit of water to the container adding a little flour.keep a culture depot (mother, seed,whatever.) Before baking, remove a small portion of the culture and feed it once, twice or three times depending on recipe until it reaches the recipe amount. These steps are known as levain builds. This is done to influence the character of the levain. The culture is fed and kept separately (perhaps in the refrigerator) and used to inoculate flour and water. Less apt to loose all the starter in a bake.pinch off part of the doughto continue the starter. Use all the starter in the next dough batch and pinch off a portion of that dough to continue. "old dough" Remember to pinch off some or loose the starter in one bake.over-proofs, It has now become a large starter. Whoops.Sometimes we can keep and maintain the starter culture using one or more methods, for example... when the seed culture seems weak or getting low, take some of the freshly fed and thriving levain and prepare it to replace the refrigerated culture. Or pinch off some of the dough, letting it ferment more (or not) and tucking away in the refrigerator or cool room to slow down activity (unless continuous baking is desired.) The idea is to coordinate the starter activity to your best advantage. Dough performs similarly to fed starter (because it is) and the only differences are that a starter can be used when over-proofed. With dough, we want to bake it before it proofs that far.

seed levain? Is that the difference between the starter you use to make the levain and the levain you use as the pre-ferment?

1 tablespoon of starter for 200 grams of flour and 200 grams water, what is the hydration here?

I would call it 100%

As Mini-Oven stated, just toss the starter out of the equation when it's such a small amount.

does the hydration of the starter matter? or is it the hydration of the levain that is taken into account?

If the levain is 100g starter and 400 grams flour and 400 gram water; how would this impact the dough? What would that do to the hydration of the dough?

is a small amount to 20kg of dough. On the other hand, almost half the dough to a kilo of flour. How it affects the dough depends on the size of the dough you are adding it to. Obviously the greater the levain ratio to dough, the more impact it makes. That's how I understand the Q. So when talking about one or two loaves, it should be included in the calculations for hydration.

There are parameters to sourdough culture starter hydration... 100g of starter could be 50g of water/50g of flour (100% hydration) it could also be 30g water/70g flour (42%hydration) the low end, or 75g water/25g flour (300% hydration) the super wet end or anywhere between. This 40g of water either way will affect the levain and the way it ferments. (That's about the amount I call a "splash" of water when I'm hand mixing.) Wetter doughs tend to ferment faster, the difference between a batter and a soft dough. Not all flours absorb water the same way or start off with the same inherent moisture content, packaging, storage and ambient humidity play a role. ...Tweaking is a sport here at TFL :)

A starter could also be a powder but then yeast may have to be added. A dry starter would most likely be figured into hydration as a "flour" as it competes for water just like flour and other dry ingredients.