The Bread Thread

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Sailor323

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I usually weigh everything. Sometimes though I just measure an exact amount of water and add most of the flour mixed with the yeast and salt. Then I add more flour until the dough reaches the right consistency. I tend to like high levels of hydration (about 75%) with the dough being still a bit sticky. I do this with both sourdough and regular yeast bread. Also, I always make a sponge (poolish) many hours before (overnight, usually) before finishing the dough.
 

sour_grapes

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I have been doing the same thing over and over. I stopped following a recipe months ago. (Hint: question coming!) I have been happy enough with the results, but not sure I am operating optimally. I do things more by feel than by measure. I use usually 1/2 whole wheat flour (Dakota Maid) and 1/2 bread flour (King Arthur), and also salt and yeast, of course. BUT, I just add the water to my sense of how much water I should have.

Well, today, I did exactly the above, as always, but I also measured my water intake. It turned out to be exactly 0.750 hydration. By most accounts, this is quite high, but not outrageous. I would like to ask the collective: Do you strictly measure your hydration? Do you have any feedback on my hydration level or my results?



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Well, a coupla things to add. I mentioned in the quoted post that my flour is about 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 bread flour. What I did not know was that both of them require higher hydration levels than AP. So, 75% is VERY high for a standard AP dough, but perhaps not unreasonable for mine.

Next bit was that I did another loaf, again with 1/2 WW and 1/2 bread flour. I kept track of hydration, but I used the bare minimum water. At 65%, there was still dry flour in the bowl! I stopped at 68%, which was stiff and tacky, but everything was hydrated. This fermented okay overnight, and folded, etc., just fine. The baked loaf seems nice (but I have not cut into it yet). I speculate that this is comparable to a ~60% hydration with AP flour. So, perhaps I was not as outrageous as I feared at 75%...
 
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MHSKIBUM

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Has anyone tried grinding AP flour to make it finer — target 00? The cost of 00 is nuts so would love a work around. I tried it in my cheap blender at high speed for two series of three minutes. It feels finer but not quite the baby powder texture that 00 is supposed to have.
I read in a blog that it can be done with a VitaMix or other high-priced blender but that sort of defeats the whole saving money idea.
 

MHSKIBUM

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Your bread designs are wonderful.
Question: How do you slice the bread for serving so that the slices are a lovely compliment to your creation. Whenever I make a nice sourdough loaf my arthritic hands end up delivering irregular chunks that look like they were hewed by Conan The Barbarian.
I have a pretty good bread knife but my hand to eye coordination isn't what it used to be. I've looked on Amazon for bread cutting aides but none seem to do the job for high crusty loaves.
 

ibglowin

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I'm back in the saddle (again)!

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Baking bread while we can still afford to fire up the gas oven.........

Of course we switch over to a gas oven and NG hits an all time record high......

Hoping we have a mild La Nina Winter in the SW as we have a NG furnace as well. LOL
 
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