Author Topic: Confused about hydration percentages!  (Read 1483 times)

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Offline DavidG

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Confused about hydration percentages!
« on: August 18, 2012, 05:01:35 PM »
Ok so say you have a dough recipe with 500g flour to 325ml of water the hydration would be 65% right, but during kneeding by hand as I always do I may find I have quite a bit of extra flour that has been absorbed from surfaces to prevent sticking. If I weight my dough ball and compare it to the weight before I started kneeding it may be 50-100g heavier.

Therefore true hydration levels would be 55-60% now but looking at the recipe you would assume 65% hydration.

Do you guys take this into account when discussing hydration levels, or would you just say that this dough has a 65% hydration and neglect the extra assuming it was a negligible amount.


« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 05:04:58 PM by DavidG »


Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2012, 05:11:10 PM »
The dough would be the hydration that you ended up with at the end. You might try using a mixer, or, when you knead by hand, don't worry about the dough sticking to your hands or the table - just keep kneading. If you have kneaded correctly, when you are finished the dough on your hands and table will have absorbed into the smooth ball of dough you now have before you.

You can also do "stretch and folds" or "slap and folds" (bread making techniques) - as opposed to one continuous kneading session. That would also mitigate the need for extra flour as well. Search on YouTube for vids on the subject.

John

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2012, 05:17:31 PM »
Try not to use any bench flour even if mixing by hand. It is an easy skill to learn, and you will make better dough. This is a good video to get you started - keep in mind that it is a sweet dough, but the technique is easily adapted to pizza dough.

http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough
Pizza is not bread.

Offline DavidG

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2012, 05:20:04 PM »
The dough would be the hydration that you ended up with at the end. You might try using a mixer, or, when you knead by hand, don't worry about the dough sticking to your hands or the table - just keep kneading. If you have kneaded correctly, when you are finished the dough on your hands and table will have absorbed into the smooth ball of dough you now have before you.

You can also do "stretch and folds" or "slap and folds" (bread making techniques) - as opposed to one continuous kneading session. That would also mitigate the need for extra flour as well. Search on YouTube for vids on the subject.

John

Thanks, i know I was thinking the hydration would be what you end up with after your done. But it only half answered my question really. What I was getting at is, when most people calculate their hydration, do they use the figures from what the recipe calls for or do they actually take the time to figure out how much extra went in if not using a dough machine?

Offline DavidG

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2012, 05:30:42 PM »
I think on average then my hydration would have been about 58%, next time I will use no bench flour and aim for a true 65% hydration.

Offline DavidG

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2012, 06:09:18 PM »
Also, what are considered optimum percentages of sugar and salt for italian style and American style dough?

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2012, 06:10:40 PM »
There is no extra anything. If you want 65% hydration, you have to use 65% water. If you use more flour because you find that the dough is too wet for your tastes, then it's not 65% hydration; it's something less than 65%. Furthermore, your measurement becomes merely a guess.

Bakers' percents are used to achieve precise measurements. If 65% is too wet for you, then deal with it for one batch of dough, then change your hydration level to 60% (or something like that) for the next batch. If you don't use precise measurements, there's no point in using bakers' percents.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2012, 06:17:17 PM »
Also, what are considered optimum percentages of sugar and salt for italian style and American style dough?

I like no sugar and 2.8-3.0% salt (Italian style).
Pizza is not bread.

Offline DavidG

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2012, 05:14:28 AM »
Does the hydration percentage refer to just the water content as I am thinking, or is it a measure of water and oil content?

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2012, 09:47:33 AM »
Does the hydration percentage refer to just the water content as I am thinking, or is it a measure of water and oil content?

HYDRATION RATIO.
Water only.  It doess not take into consideration any other liquids (starter,oil, honey,...)
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends


Offline Pizza De Puta

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2012, 10:02:12 AM »
I was wondering the same question, David, when I got started a few weeks ago.  The answer for me came when I purchased a chunk of broken granite to knead on.  This takes almost all the stickiness issues away and eliminates the need for any bench flour during the kneading process.  Check out any counter-top/tile store for scrap and buy a piece cheap.
RE

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2012, 10:17:46 AM »
HYDRATION RATIO.
Water only.  It doess not take into consideration any other liquids (starter,oil, honey,...)

If you have a lot of other liquids in your dough, it could make it behave like a higher hydration dough however.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline DavidG

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2012, 11:31:55 AM »
OK thanks, thats what I assumed but just wanted to clarify. Yeh i'll definitely check out the granite work surfaces, that sounds great.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Confused about hydration percentages!
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2012, 12:50:17 PM »
Does the hydration percentage refer to just the water content as I am thinking, or is it a measure of water and oil content?

DavidG,

Actually, when a dough contains oil, that oil does have a "wetting" effect on the dough. So, if a dough recipe that does not contain oil is to be modified to include oil, the usual recommendation is to reduce the formula hydration by the percent of oil. I often use the term "effective hydration" to mean the combination of the amount of water and the amount of oil. So, if the hydration percent is 58% and the amount of oil is 4%, the "effective hydration" is 62%. 

When a given recipe also contains ingredients that contain water, as Craig mentioned, the water content of those ingredients will affect the total formula hydration. I will often determine the amount of water in those ingredients and adjust the total formula hydration. I usually call that hydration value the "adjusted hydration" value.

Using the above terms is to make it easier to conduct discussions without having to lay everything out each time.

Peter


 

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