Hydration Test 1
three little one-pounders, with wet, very wet and soggy dough
This was done in order to find out what influence higher hydration has on making (white) bread. One reason was a recent baking class "Italian Breads" where a very wet (yeast) dough was made for Pane di Como with the ususal cup measurement. I have not yet recalcutated the recipe to weight measures, but the 70 % hydrated dough should work as well. The second reason was to find evidence for higher hydration causing big hole crumb in bread being looked for in the r.f.s newsgroup. This seems to be at least partially the case since the higher hydration loaves had larger holes.

I have made three 1 lb loaves (almost untameable sticky flatlings in case of the high hydration) with 65 %, 70 % and 75 % hydration, everything else but water contents of the dough being the same. Summary, detail and double-zoom pictures below and on following page. And - here is the plain jumpy AllPic page.
HOME->SD->Hydration Test 1->Shape & Crust ->Crumb
after second rise
60%, 70%, 75%
same sequence
in all pictures
resting after
in oven,
ready to rise
4 minutes later
6 minutes
13 minutes
24 minutes
I used Carl's to grow sufficient starter for three 1 lbs loaves. I calculated with my sourdough calculator (in new window) a dough weights of 560 g, with 65%, 70% and 75% hydrations, 20% starter % of total dough, 100% starter hydration and 1.8% salt. The first rise was 2 hours, 4 hours second rise (I intended to have 2 x 4 hour rises but due to other obligations, I was not able to). The intention with the longer rise was to develop the Carl's more fully than what happened with the shorter rises in Carls I & II. The bread turned out to be fairly sour and the higher hydration breads had a more transparent and chewyer crumb. Also interesting was the much shorter baking time (25 minutes) of 60% hydration compared to the higher hydrations (40, 45 minutes).

The 75% hydration dough was sticking everywhere, unslashable, and could only be managed with oiled plastic foil and large amounts of corn meal - definitely not recommendable.
Date Time elapsed time Total elapsed time Step Action
  Grow starter from storage leaven
03/24 00:00     use 20 g from culture which was kept in fridge, taken out and was active again, triple by adding 20 g water and 20 g flour, grow temperature fairly constant at 70 F (21 C)
  10:00 10:00 10:00 pH 4.21 - triple by adding 60 g water and 60 g flour, then pH 5.45, continue growing at 80 F (26 C)
  15:00 15:00 15:00 pH 5.03 continue growing at 95/100 F (35/37 C) to promote lactobacillus growth, following this reference (in new window).
  18:30 18:30 18:30 pH 4.35
  18:45 18:45 18:45 triple by adding 180 g water and 180 g flour, then pH 5.25
  22:00 22:00 22:00 pH 4.32
  22:30 22:30 22:30 pH 4.04 - make dough
  Make dough and bake
03/24 22:30 22:30 22:30->00:00 pH 4.03 - make dough, use sourdough calculator (new window) to calculate doughs with 65%, 70% and 75% hydration, 20 % starter (100 % hydration) and 1.8 % salt with a target dough weight of 560 g per dough, knead dough in mixer for 6 minutes.
(flour used for starter and dough: King Arthur Special for Bread) and put in oven with light on to rise at 80-90 F (26-32 C)
  23:00 23:00 00:30 start first rise - 2 hour rise
 03/25 01:00 25:00 02:30 punch down and start second rise
  05:00 29:00 06:30 pH 4.46 - shape and rest 45 minutes while oven is preheating
  05:45 29:45 07:15 bake with oven preheat to max. (550 F - 290 C), with 2 layers of baking stone - 3/4" x 12" x 19" and bowl with water in oven, spray with water several times during first 6 minutes, reduce baking heat to 425 F (218 C) after 9 minutes, bake until bread has reached a temperature of 190 F (87 C) which happened after 25 minutes for the 65% hydrated dough and after 40 and 45 minutes for the higher hydrated doughs.
  06:30 30:30 08:00 done
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