Author Topic: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?  (Read 2530 times)

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Offline wizarddrummer

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Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« on: March 09, 2011, 08:58:09 PM »
Hi,
I've read a lot of posts here but there's so much to try and absorb that it's more than mind boggling its mind numbing at times.

I'm hoping for a simple answer for High Hydration vs Low Hydration and its overall effect on a pizza.

Thanks



Online TXCraig1

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 03:23:33 PM »
No, there is not a simple answer to your question. The effect of hydration is dependant on a whole host of other variables ranging from the flour used to the baking temperature and most everything in between.

My recommendation is to search through the posts in the pizza style you are interested in and find those posts that discuss ovens similar to what you have and then study how hydration effects the finished product within those parameters.

Craig
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Offline new2dough

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2011, 03:21:04 AM »
Hi,
I've read a lot of posts here but there's so much to try and absorb that it's more than mind boggling its mind numbing at times.

I'm hoping for a simple answer for High Hydration vs Low Hydration and its overall effect on a pizza.

Thanks



No simple answers I guess, but here's my experience with low hydration doughs (52% water, flour with 10% protein) :

* Much easier to open and form
* Moderate oven rise but still enough small/medium sized airpocket development in the rim area to satisfy my needs
* Shorter bake time in the oven (for a 220 g dough ball, my baking time is around 5 1/2 minutes @ 527 F / 275 C)

I've never attempted to work with a very high hydration dough, the maximum hydration my flour can handle would be around 54-55% I guess, and that with plenty of bench flour.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2011, 08:54:32 AM »
wizzarddrummer,

I agree with Craig that what appears to be a simple subject--hydration--has a lot of complexity associated with it. The thread that I have been referring members to on this subject is the one at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12211.0.html.

However, there are some basic aspects of hydration that can be mentioned to draw comparisons between a high hydration dough and a low hydration dough. For example, a high hydration dough will have better absorption characteristics than a low hydration dough, principally because there is more water in the high hydration dough (I am assuming that all other ingredients in the two doughs are the same). The high hydration dough will also be somewhat softer and more malleable and more extensible (stretchy) than a low hydration dough. The high hydration dough will also ferment faster than the low hydration dough because of the increased permeability and mobility of the water throughout the dough, which speeds up the biochemical reactions in the dough. Finally, depending on many factors, including how the pizzas are baked and the oven thermodynamics, a high hydration dough will ususally produce a more open and airy crumb in the finished crust.

You might also take a look at the definitions for the terms Absorption, Crumb, Extensibility, Hydration and Oven Spring in the forum's Pizza Glossary at http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_glossary.html.

Peter

Offline wizarddrummer

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2011, 09:23:30 AM »
wizzarddrummer,

I agree with Craig that what appears to be a simple subject--hydration--has a lot of complexity associated with it. The thread that I have been referring members to on this subject is the one at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12211.0.html.

However, there are some basic aspects of hydration that can be mentioned to draw comparisons between a high hydration dough and a low hydration dough. For example, a high hydration dough will have better absorption characteristics than a low hydration dough, principally because there is more water in the high hydration dough (I am assuming that all other ingredients in the two doughs are the same). The high hydration dough will also be somewhat softer and more malleable and more extensible (stretchy) than a low hydration dough. The high hydration dough will also ferment faster than the low hydration dough because of the increased permeability and mobility of the water throughout the dough, which speeds up the biochemical reactions in the dough. Finally, depending on many factors, including how the pizzas are baked and the oven thermodynamics, a high hydration dough will ususally produce a more open and airy crumb in the finished crust.

You might also take a look at the definitions for the terms Absorption, Crumb, Extensibility, Hydration and Oven Spring in the forum's Pizza Glossary at http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_glossary.html.

Peter


Thanks that's exactly what i was looking for... things like faster fermentation, open crumb etc. Now I understand a lot more.

Offline scott r

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2011, 06:12:25 PM »
one interesting aspect of hydrations that I have noticed, but never hear talked about is how the byproducts of fermentation can actually change the flavor of your final baked crust.   I don't understand why, but when you get into low hydrations in the 50's for thin and crispy pizzas it actually starts to taste like there is beer in the dough.   The smell of the dough ball is different as well... more alcoholic.   Lately I have been experimenting with a very dry preferment (biga) that then is used in a higher hydration dough to try to get the best of both worlds.   Figures an alcohol smell and flavor would appeal to me :)

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2011, 07:03:24 PM »
scott r,

When I experimented with cracker-style doughs, I experienced much the same thing as you described. However, I attributed the beer like smell and flavor to the use of large amounts of yeast compared with most other styles and accelerated fermentation induced by heat. With respect to the yeast, I am hard pressed to recall cracker-style doughs with yeast at say, 0.25% IDY.

I also remember your post on this subject at Reply 99 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg50100.html#msg50100, to which I responded at Reply 100 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg50109.html#msg50109. Subsequently, another member raised the question of whether it was possible to have a cracker style dough (DKM's dough in this case) overferment. I concluded that the answer was yes, as I discussed at Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7572.msg65001.html#msg65001. I thought about your comments for some time to see if there was something about a low hydration that could affect the final crust flavors but I could not come up with a technical explanation for such a result. You could still be right, of course. I just couldn't come up with a connection.

Peter

Offline scott r

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2011, 08:41:27 PM »
Peter, I get this even with small amounts of yeast.   I usually use .1% for this, sometimes less.   Not sure what its all about, but I do like it!   

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2011, 08:44:11 PM »
scott r,

Is that with a room temperature fermentation or a cold fermentation, and what is the fermentation period?

Peter

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2011, 11:19:54 PM »
Less water allows the alcohol producing bacteria to get the upper hand over the yeast, no?


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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2011, 10:25:08 AM »
Less water allows the alcohol producing bacteria to get the upper hand over the yeast, no?


Tom,

I really don't know. Here, we are talking about a straight dough that is leavened with commercial yeast and either fermented at room temperature or cold fermented (we don't yet know), not one leavened with wild yeast where the results would be different qualitatively and quantitatively. I usually remember oddities along the lines mentioned by scott r but I do not ever recall reading anything like what scott r mentioned. I even did some general Google searches and specific Google Book searches looking for an answer and did not find one. Nothing even close. I did recall, however, that one of our members, djones148, once posted a link to a graph showing the relative growth rates of wild yeast and sourdough bacteria. I did a forum search and found the graph at http://www.egullet.com/imgs/egci/sourdough/graph1.jpg. You will note that the growth rate of wild yeast and sourdough bacteria are similar up to about 81 degrees F but then diverge significantly. Above about 81 degrees F, the wild yeast growth rate falls off dramatically and, no doubt, the ethanol production drops off also. At about 94 degrees F, the bacteria growth rate is at its peak but the wild yeast growth rate is about zero. How hydration plays into this and how it might change the rates shown in the graphs I have no idea.

Peter


Online TXCraig1

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2011, 11:24:54 AM »
Less water allows the alcohol producing bacteria to get the upper hand over the yeast, no?

Tom,

It is the yeast that is producing all the alcohol as a byproduct of anaerobic respiration. And, even in a sourdough where the bacteria play an important role, there is typically a balance between the yeast and bacteria that is pretty stable at a given hydration %.

Water causes naturally occurring amylase enzymes to break down the starch in the flour into into sucrose and maltose. The lactic acid bacteria feeds on the maltose (and can't metabolize other sugars), and the strains of yeast often found in sourdough cultures can't metabolize the maltose, so there isn't any competition for food. Also, while consuming the maltose, the bacteria release an enzyme that breaks down maltose into glucose which gives a boost to the yeast. The bacteria also produce an antibiotic that keeps other bacteria down without effecting the yeast. This symbiotic relationship is what keeps the yeast and bacteria in the starter and dough in balance.

Craig
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 05:10:06 PM by TXCraig1 »
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Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2011, 02:50:32 PM »
Nice explanation, thanks!

Offline chickenparm

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Re: Effect of hydration; is there a simple answer?
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2011, 01:38:21 AM »
There is NO doubt when a dough can ferment for a little extra time,it will taste great.I love the smell of the Beer/alcohol dough that has cold risen in the fridge for 2-3 days or more.

I have made pizzas with the same day risen dough,A 24 hour one day cold rise, and 2- 3 days cold rise doughs.The same day dough I made has no true flavor at all,its plain,bland and depends on all the sauce and toppings you can put on to hide it.

That said, I'm not using any starters,but mainly ADY/and IDY for my dough experiments.

Going back to Hydrations,I have been making my doughs in the 60-63% hydrations.That amount works very well for me,and make wonderful pizzas at home.Im still experimenting,but that is the % I found thus far to make excellent doughs with my bread machine and to let them cold rise for 2-3 days.












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