Author Topic: Can a Flour's Absorption rate change?  (Read 296 times)

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Offline kdefay

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  • Location: Thailand
Can a Flour's Absorption rate change?
« on: June 10, 2013, 10:58:08 PM »
I experienced something this week that I have never seen before.  We have used a very consistent formula using a blend of two flours.  One is the DiVella "00" flour and the other is a high gluten bread flour.  Last week we opened a new 25kg bag of our DiVella flour and quickly noticed that our dough was much wetter than it usually is.  Two days on and we are still experiencing this.  I'm just wondering if anyone else has ever experienced something like this.  Part of me is thinking that it is possible if they changed their blend of grains due to supply issues, it could have an effect on the overall absorption rate of that flour.  I am planning to make adjustments to my formula today to try and correct this problem, but it really surprised us. 

I'd love to hear about other people's experiences in this regard.

Kirk


Offline The Dough Doctor

  • Tom Lehmann
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Re: Can a Flour's Absorption rate change?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2013, 03:25:29 PM »
Kirk;
The absorption properties absolutely does change. There are three things responsible for this.
1) As the flour ages in the bag it can/will dry out thus requiring more water.
2) As the flour ages in the bag it oxidizes (becomes stronger) this can result in a tighter feeling dough that is thought to be too low in absorption. Note: #1 and #2 above can combine to give you a double whammy.
3) Every lot of flour is made from a different grain grist (blend). No two lots of flour are made from the same grist so it is always changing. This is why commissaries and bakeries always request Farinograph data to provide them with the absorption and mixing properties of the current lot of flour. Note: The Farinograph is a laboratory instrument used to measure absorption and mixing properties of wheat based flours.
While the flour mill does everything within its power to provide a similar product in the bag each and every time, there will be differences in the wheat used in making up the grist that cannot be accounted for. This is sometimes called crop year variation and it becomes more evident as we near the harvest time for the type of wheat used to make the flour. Winter wheat is harvested during June and July while higher protein content spring wheat is harvested in late August into September in the U.S. and Canada.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline kdefay

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Re: Can a Flour's Absorption rate change?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2013, 09:48:21 PM »
Thank you for the very informative reply, Tom. 

#2 really applies to our situation.  We are in SE Asia and the flour is imported from Italy.  I imagine that it is sitting in the bag for quite some time by the time it gets to us.   From the way the previous dough felt, I reduced my hydration by 2% yesterday to try and get back to normal.  it was a pretty good guess.  It was very close.  I think I was no more that .5% off in my estimation.   

I would expect variations in lots, but I was really surprised that the absorption rate changed as much as it did.  I will be opening a new bag in a couple of days.  No idea what to expect from it...

Kirk
« Last Edit: June 11, 2013, 10:03:01 PM by kdefay »