I understand that effective hydration and prolonged fermentation are 2 separate/different techniques with 2 different goals. However my original contention is that given enough time during a long fermentation, the dough will become sufficiently hydrated regardless.
Dear Jackie Tran, hoping that I have understood your concern, let us briefly consider your assertion, “I understand that effective hydration
and prolonged fermentation are 2 separate/different techniques with 2 different goals. However my original contention is that given enough time during a long fermentation, the dough will become sufficiently hydrated
regardless.” (I have added the italics
to your statements, not knowing if you used “effective hydration” and “sufficient hydration” identically.) My knowledge of chemistry is very limited, but I am going to make a very crude attempt to construct the formulas for (1) chemical reaction of mixing flour and water together on one hand and (2) chemical reaction of mixing flour, water, salt, and lievito madre or yeast together on the other hand. Again, I am not a chemist or flour engineer, but I will try my best.
1. The two principal chemical constituents of wheat flour are starches (about 68% to 76%) and proteins (about 7% to 18%).
2. The starches are a division of “complex carbohydrates” whose molecules are chemically made up of several atoms of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen: CX
3. The proteins are chemically composed of several atoms of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen: CX
4. Water molecule, used in hydrating flour, is chemically made up of two atoms of hydrogen and 1 atom of oxygen: H2
5. Accordingly, hydration of flour can be represented in the following formula:
6. Next, if you skip direct hydration of flour as demonstrated above, and instead opt for "prolonged fermentation" of flour by adding salt (made up of 1 atom of sodium and 1 atom of chloride: NaCl) and lievito madre or yeast (which produces ethanol CH2
CHOH, carbon dioxide CO2
, lactic acid C3
, and etc.), then you will effectively change the chemistry
of the flour-water mixture from this:CXHXOX + CXHXNXOX + H2O
to this:CXHXOX + CXHXNXOX + H2O + NaCl + culture/yeast + CH2CHOH + CO2 + C3H6O3
The outcome of these two chemical reactions may look the same to the naked eyes, but not to the deliberating mind because of the following pre-suppositions
1. Addition of salt to the flour-water mixture seems to cause premature rupture of some organic cells within flour. Ingestion of salt molecules by the cells seemingly causes osmotic pressure/stress which prematurely ruptures the cells. Conversely, some other cells may undergo shrinkage because of osmotic pressure/stress or inequality of pressure outside and inside of the cell membranes. And, these reactions seem to interrupt consummate hydration and autolisi
of flour. (Have you noticed that after intake of salty food, your body demands to be hydrated by intake of water? Bodily cells become dehydrated because of salt in food.) Further, autolisi
is supposed to promote self-digestion by enzymes that are produced within the cells—not premature self-rupture or shrinkage by salt molecules.
2. Addition of lievito madre or yeast to the flour-water mixture generates alcohol that can further interrupt autolytic hydration of the organic cells within flour. (Have you noticed that after intake of alcoholic beverages, your body demands to be hydrated by intake of water due to diuretic reactions? Bodily tissues are dehydrated because of alcohol.)
3. Salt and alcohol are dehydrators. In case of alcohol, it causes what cellular biologists call “dehydration reaction”, which is, if I am not mistaken, deprivation of water molecules from cells for the sake of generating carbonic gases and hydroxyl-carbonic compounds.
Therefore, based on the above presuppositions and the results of my empirical experiments, I tentatively conclude that “extended fermentation”, regardless of the duration of time up to about 24 hours, does not yield the same results as "sufficient hydration" (used identically with “effective hydration” which is as same as autolisi
—only in principle, but not in execution) as far as the formation of gluten and texture are concerned. However, if by "sufficiently hydrated" you do not mean "effective hydration", then that is a different issue, and the above argumentation would be probably moot. If by "sufficiently hydrated" you mean the quantity
of water, then it would not be identical with "effective hydration", which is a modality
or a way
of effecting hydration.
You drive me nuts, making me examine my long-cherished beliefs!