Author Topic: Varying Hydration Percentage  (Read 1159 times)

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Offline PizzaSean

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Varying Hydration Percentage
« on: October 04, 2011, 01:14:39 AM »

I hope to return to this thread with photos from planned experiments where I vary the hydration percentage variable in my dough. 

But in the mean time, I was curious if anybody could shed some light on what the end product differences would be if only hydration was modified.  It can be very general information on, say 50, 55, 60, and 65% hydration.

My process is to get around 600F with soapstone in my 550F oven, plus heat blasts from the broiler.  I use AT flour and typically hand mix minimally for a 2 day cold ferment.


Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: Varying Hydration Percentage
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2011, 03:54:24 AM »
62% is a rough ballpark for most flours.

the lower the water, the tighter and more dense product can be expected, but seems to extend the pre-bake rise by a few hours or days before it explodes a volcano of fermentation gasses up the center.  also, the easier it is to handle when overproofed.  less chance of 'droop' and sticking to a screen during baking, and on a super thin, or very dense recipe (NY elite .06tf, deep dish, cracker crust) the lower hydration range is just the nature of the recipe.  makes a meatier crumb, but IMO not a better crumb.

the higher the water, the greater the tender, crisp crumb, oven spring.   also, the harder it is for a 'novice' pizza maker to stretch, handle, and ball the dough.  myself, i have worked with a max of 78% hydration on standard NY style dough and had great results, but i have a very condensed pile of pizza skills and knowledge from working at 6 different successful pizza shops in 3 years, not counting on my own boundaries and limits that i strive for (side bar comment but still relevant).   

honestly, it almost seems that most people have a hydration ratio they prefer.  some like 58%, some like 62%, myself i like to run in a window of 65-72%.  i like all of my dough to have an extra 5-10% hydration, it just cooks better in the equipment i use
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Offline PizzaSean

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Re: Varying Hydration Percentage
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2011, 10:43:09 AM »
interesting... thanks compl3x!

My instincts told me that lowering the hydration from my typical 66% would give me something to work with that was a little more like what I was seeing stretched at my local pizza places in NJ and NY.  I feel like I'd like to try out that lower/mid hydration mix to see if I can get a more perfectly uniform stretch.  I feel like I get a nice stretch, but that I might be able to get something a little more 'perfect' at that slightly lower hydration point.