A Feel for High Hydration Bread
I tried to make the overnight white loaf from FWSY (78% hydration) and ended up with a totally slack and sticky dough. Admittedly I made a small modification by doing it overnight in the fridge then at 75ish average during day so it would be ready for afternoon/evening bake.
The problem started with the folds during bulk fermentation. I did one an hour after combining and the dough didn't really hold shape at all. An hour later I used the slap and fold technique. After a few go's at that it got pretty elastic and could somewhat hold shape, however, I wanted a bit more tightness. It was getting late so I dumped it back in the tub for bulk fermentation and hoped for the best. Could overkneading have made the dough go sticky?
I think I did that with a challah once, but then I just kept kneading and kneading and it became nice and smooth. Pretty much everyone says it's impossible to overknead a challah by hand though.
I think my next mistake was too much bulk fermentation. It got to a decent expansion and a few bubbles on the surface some time around noon but it was still very slack so I let it ferment longer. It didn't jiggle, it sloshed. It didn't resist tugging with a wet hand much. Again, I eventually just gave up and put it in proofing baskets since I needed it to get ready. Can bulk fermentation improve the elasticity of a dough or does it need to be kneaded enough before bulk fermentation in order to develop structure?
Are high hydration breads just always going to be a bit slack? Or should they get to a decent elasticity and smoothness?
Also, do high hydration breads always need a light touch with the kneading? Or can enough kneading eventually get them elastic?
What flour are you using?
FWIW I do an 80% ciabatta that gets about ten minutes in the kitchenaid, mostly at third speed, which is the opposite of a light touch and way more kneading than Forkish calls for. That gets it from sticky and shaggy to a really springy smooth shiny light dough that clears not just the sides but the bottom of the bowl. This is with Pendleton Morbread, 12% protein.
Generally fermentation by itself will not increase tightness or elasticity, which is why we do folds.
Interesting! Thank you or the reply! I'd wondered if it was possibly to knead through to the other side. Good to know that fermentation won't do the trick. I would have gone at it more! I also have a KitchenAid so I will definitely try that :)
I'm using King Arthur White Flour as recommended in the book. 11.7% protein.
Can 80% hydration doughs get into a round or loaf-y shape? Or will they necessarily tend towards a flatter shape?
A banneton or some form is needed for higher hydration doughs to have some shape as they are loaded into the oven. A free risen and baked high hydration loaf will smoosh out into a flat glob. Today I baked a 70% loaf and the dough was fairly flaccid during forming and the free risen form had spread out a bit. The dough was very well kneaded and the gluten was nicely developed. 67% hydration is the sweet spot for my style of baking. I like to develop gluten using slap-fold and anything more than 67% hydration makes slap-fold increasingly difficult.
I've learned not to expect the miracle of replicating Trevor's work.
1. He's a master. I am most decidedly a rookie.
2. Mariana and others have taught me that flours do really make a difference. Trying to shoot for 85% may be untenable for my (or anyone's) materials, even with stellar technique.
Nevertheless, Trevor doing a Tartine-style loaf, 85% hydration, entirely by hand. Watch particularly how beautifully it sets up as a log.
Oh lol, he's got whole wheat in there. Of course 85% hydration works. My trouble is with only white flour. Still, pretty incredible result with the perfectly shaped ear!
Bit confused Dan - are you saying 85% with WW is easier than with 100% white flour?
Yep, Trevor is a true master.
Yep, whole wheat absorbs more water. Idk exactly why.
For me, close to round in cross-section is possible with (1) really working the dough in the kitchenaid as described (2) a loaf shape (I do a sort of batard) that inflates easily (3) a couche for the final rise (4) getting the timing right so it bakes when it's cloudlike and light, but still elastic enough that the outside sets in the oven and then the thing puffs like a balloon as it bakes through. That's the part I find hardest. The normal ciabatta is a wider loaf and decidedly flattish.
1. did you use dry yeast or levain?
2. did you add flour, water, yeast, salt all at once and wait for 1hour to do the folds?
If you used dry yeast, it's possible that the dough started to rise up before the gluten development.
If you add everything all at once, better do the folds every 30min, some people even do every 20min in the first 2hours to help the gluten development.
(Instant) Dry Yeast.
Yeah, I think that's what happened. Gluten was undeveloped but bread already rising.