The Fresh Loaf

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Tip - Making adjustments to Dough Hydration

DanAyo's picture

Tip - Making adjustments to Dough Hydration

Suppose you want to adjust the hydration of your dough. And after it is mixed you’d like to know the exact hydration for later use.

  • Select an amount of water that you wish to hold out, maybe 5% and put it in a container. In the image above 59 grams of water was subtracted from the Total Dough Water.
  • Mx your dough. It is a good idea to let it rest 20-30 minutes so that it will fully absorb the water. Also, since salt tends to tighten a dough considerably, it is a good idea wait until it is added before making the final adjustments to the hydration of the dough. Feeling the dough is a very accurate way to judge the hydration. 
  • If you feel your dough needs more water, punch a whole in the plastic wrap and slowly add (pour out) a little water at a time until it feels right to you.
  • Weigh the left over water and subtract that amount by the Total Dough Water. This will give you the exact amount of water used.
  • Divide that number by the Total Flour Weight, which will give you the accurate hydration of the adjusted loaf.

NOTE - this method is also applicable when doing things like Slap & Folds. You can calculate the accurate amount of the water you added to the dough by wetting your hands. 

A tablespoon of extra water can raise the hydration of a 600 gram dough by ~3-5%. A little extra water can make a difference. Maybe you are comfortable with 75% hydration, but what if the dough was 80%.

  • This same concept will ascertain the exact hydration in the case where the full amount of water was used but the dough is still too dry.
  • This principle will also work in the case where the dough is too wet. Do the same with the flour as instructed above using the water.

a little something to think about...


hreik's picture

My method is similar.  I hold back just about 5% and since I mix the dough in 3 stages, i add that 5% in small amounts as I mix.  I add it until i get the feeling I'm used to.... lol hard to describe.



Benito's picture

Very good suggestions Danny.  I bet dough is stickier than the recipe hydration would suggest because of the amount of water I have been adding by wetting my hands doing stretch and folds.