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Starter timelapse: hydration

Today’s #sourdough experiment focuses on one thing, hydration

Swipe to see the hydrations of each of the jars

Hydration is a term bakers use to tell you how much water is in a recipe, relative to the amount of flour. If you see a bread recipe that says it’s 80% hydration, that doesn’t mean it’s 80% water and 20% other stuff. It means however much flour is used, the amount of water to use is 80% of that number. I have lots of info in other posts and in my ebook on hydration and baker’s percentages so I won’t harp on that here.

What’s shown in the video are 4 jars of sourdough. One fed at 1:2:2, one at 1:1.8:2, one at 1:1.6:2, and one at 1:1.4:2

The feeding ratios I post are always starter:water:flour

So a 1:2:2 example would be 20g starter 40g water 40g flour. Since those last two numbers match, it’s 100% hydration.

1:1.8:2 is 90% hydration
1:1.6:2 is 80%
1:1.4:2 is 70%

The time lapse shows that the dryer the mix (the less water used) the slower the peak and the longer the peak and I think coolest of all, the taller the peak.

This is super flour dependent as to how fast or high it may peak but for any given flour, using less water will delay the peak and may even get you a taller peak.

Now this isn’t exactly true for bread making. Typically you tend to get a taller oven spring with wetter doughs. However that only happens to a point. That crossover point when adding more water does harm to your oven spring has to deal with absorption among other aspects of your flour. You’ll have to get to know your flour to see how much water it can handle.

This experiment shows me that I should try this 50/50 flour mix and 80% water, as I feel like that jar showed the most even structure. Something for me to think about!

For you, you’ll have to get to know your flour(s) and see how much water they can handle.

A quick takeaway for you is that if you need to delay your starter peak a bit, use less water. You can do this in combination with cooler water or a higher ratio to really push out the time. (As shown in a previous time lapse)

All were fed with the same warm water and starter. All were fed with a mix of 50% wholemeal and 50% bread flour.
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