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High Hydration Doughs

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  • Willy
    Charter Member
    • Apr 2015
    • 1766
    • High Desert of the Great Southwest

    High Hydration Doughs

    Mbmorgan You are a Forkish--high hydration guy, so here's a question for you. I did a high hydration "experiment" not long ago--not a Forkish recipe, but a "science experiment". Anyway, the dough was so loose it spread out pretty wide--too big for my SS bowl cover. When doing doughs in the 78%-ish range, it it necessary to use a DO or such in order to limit the spread of the dough?
  • MBMorgan
    Club Member
    • Sep 2015
    • 5736
    • Colorado
    • > Weber Genesis EP-330
      > Grilla Grills Original Grilla (OG) pellet smoker
      > Pit Barrel Cooker (gone to a new home)
      > WeberQ 2000 (on "loan" to a relative)
      > Old Smokey Electric (for chickens mostly - when it's too nasty out
      to fiddle with a more capable cooker)
      > Luhr Jensen Little Chief Electric - Top Loader circa 1990 (smoked fish & jerky)
      > Thermoworks Smoke
      > 3 Thermoworks Chef Alarms
      > Thermoworks Thermapen
      > Thermoworks IR-GUN-S
      > Anova sous vide circulator
      > Searzall torch
      > BBQ Guru Rib Ring

      > Favorite Beer: Guinness Extra Stout, Fat Tire, Anchor Steam, or Alaskan Amber
      > Favorite Wine: Klinker Brick Old Ghost Zinfandel or Matetic Corralillo Winemaker's Blend
      > Favorite Whiskey: Balvenie Double Wood Scotch or Jameson Irish

    #2
    Hi Willy. The short answer is pretty much "yes". A few months ago, I tried inverting the base of my 7 qt DO as the "lid" on a pizza steel. The 75% hydration dough spread so quickly on the steel that I almost couldn't contain it. The resulting loaf looked more like a pancake than a boule. Now, I use my 5 qt combo DO. The "skillet" (normally the DO lid) is the base but it is a couple of inches deep and controls the spread of dough nicely so that I can invert the base of the DO for use as the "lid". Works great!

    Here's a link to the combo to help with the visual: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000LEXR0K/?tag=amazi0a8-20

    Comment


    • Willy
      Willy commented
      Editing a comment
      What is your reason for not using the DO in its "proper" orientation? Ease of removal when baking is finished? I have a good sized DO (from camping), but it's a flat lid. We used our Le Creuset for the first loaf I made and..., well, that's off limits now (discoloration). LOL
      Last edited by Willy; March 11th, 2017, 07:34 PM.

    • MBMorgan
      MBMorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      Willy - It's just much easier to get the dough in without incinerating my knuckles ... especially high-hydration dough that's flopping around. As a bonus, it's also easier to get the bread out.

    • Thunder77
      Thunder77 commented
      Editing a comment
      You also can have more fun scoring the dough when you don't have the high sides of the DO to deal with.
  • scottranda
    Charter Member
    • May 2015
    • 1541
    • Charlotte, NC

    #3
    So if it oozes wide, it might not be your fault for not developing the gluten enough? I'm afraid to go above 70 percent.

    Comment


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Scott... you're thinking too hard. You have a fear of the unknown. Watch the videos I posted below and take your normal 70% hydration dough recipe you've been using and goose it up to 75%. The difference... will blow your mind.😜 Plus... it's easier.👍
      Buy a 12 quart mixing bucket.

    • Willy
      Willy commented
      Editing a comment
      I've been timid on high hydration too, but I'm about to take the plunge. My normal loaf is 70%--with no WW (except in the starter). I'm thinking a non-WW, 70% loaf is like maybe like 73-74% when using 20% WW. Forkish--here we come! Field Blend No 2, I think.

    • scottranda
      scottranda commented
      Editing a comment
      Willy I don't use much WW either. I use semolina instead. Soooo good.
  • MBMorgan
    Club Member
    • Sep 2015
    • 5736
    • Colorado
    • > Weber Genesis EP-330
      > Grilla Grills Original Grilla (OG) pellet smoker
      > Pit Barrel Cooker (gone to a new home)
      > WeberQ 2000 (on "loan" to a relative)
      > Old Smokey Electric (for chickens mostly - when it's too nasty out
      to fiddle with a more capable cooker)
      > Luhr Jensen Little Chief Electric - Top Loader circa 1990 (smoked fish & jerky)
      > Thermoworks Smoke
      > 3 Thermoworks Chef Alarms
      > Thermoworks Thermapen
      > Thermoworks IR-GUN-S
      > Anova sous vide circulator
      > Searzall torch
      > BBQ Guru Rib Ring

      > Favorite Beer: Guinness Extra Stout, Fat Tire, Anchor Steam, or Alaskan Amber
      > Favorite Wine: Klinker Brick Old Ghost Zinfandel or Matetic Corralillo Winemaker's Blend
      > Favorite Whiskey: Balvenie Double Wood Scotch or Jameson Irish

    #4
    Originally posted by scottranda View Post
    So if it oozes wide, it might not be your fault for not developing the gluten enough? I'm afraid to go above 70 percent.
    Even if you get maximum gluten development, those high hydration doughs can present a bit of a challenge ... which makes it all the more rewarding when you get a successful result.

    Comment


    • MBMorgan
      MBMorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      Breadhead - It's the walking I find elusive. Something about playing football since the 2nd grade (thanks Dad) plus supsequently even-more-stupid physical activities seem to have resulted in a chronically blown right knee. I'm seeing a ortho doc in a few days to discuss options. Sigh ...

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Your limitations dictate what you can't do...😡 I notice that people our age have normal limitations that I'm greatful I don't yet have but... my vision issue concerns me. My 39 year old son who is in the medical industry tells me if you're moving you're living. If you're not moving you're dying.

    • MBMorgan
      MBMorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      Breadhead - WRT the vision issue, I'd be happy to chat about what I've learned and experienced. Feel free to PM me if you'll like to discuss either online or on the phone.
  • RonB
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 11217
    • Near Richmond VA
    • Weber Performer Deluxe
      SNS
      Pizza insert
      Rotisserie
      Smokenator 1000
      Cookshack Smokette Elite
      2 Thermapens
      Chefalarm
      Dot
      lots of probes.
      CyberQ

    #5
    You could make a ring like Breadhead does for his brioche buns - only larger. That should contain the dough until you can get the CI in place.

    Comment


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Now that's funny...😁 You would need a cake ring.🙄
  • Breadhead
    Banned Former Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 1

    #6
    High hydration dough requires a different technique than a 66% or 70% dough.

    Lower hydration doughs I use Chef Jacobs techniques. Mixing, gluten development, the window pane test, shaping, final shaping, final proofing and the poke test are pretty much the same and just as critical regardless of the hydration rate. Getting each step right will give you a great loaf of bread.

    For the 75% or 78% hydration doughs that Ken Forkish loves and has mastered he makes everything seem pretty simple, even though it's not until you've done a few loaves. Mixing, gluten development, the window pane test, final shaping, final proofing and the poke test are just as important when using Ken Forkish' techniques as using Chef Jacobs techniques.

    Some of Mr Forkish' recipes only require 2 folding sessions and some require 4 folding sessions. The additional folding sessions are to further develop the gluten. You develop a feel of how resistant the dough is to being folded to know when your dough will pass the window pane test. Your dough will go flat if the gluten structure is not properly developed. Final shaping your dough is critical. I'm more aggressive in my final shaping technique than both Chef Jacob and Ken Forkish. I try to get as much pressure on the outside skin of the dough as I possibly can without tearing it open. Then the poke test... makes sure you get your dough in the oven on time. You've got about a 15 minute window of perfect proofing and over proofing.

    Once you really understand high hydration sourdough bread making... it's actually easier than low hydration dough making. However... learning to really understand all of the critical steps of bread making it's easier and best to start with low hydration dough, in my humble opinion.

    This is how Forkish bakes a 78% hydration dough... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rtoMhY0vS9E

    This is how you fold high hydration dough... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CQHuWDEo3SA

    Portioning and final shaping high hydration dough... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MPdedk9gJLQ

    Final proofing & poke test... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6oAfl1u0fIw

    If you get all of these step correct... you WILL NOT get a flat loaf of bread.👌

    This is a loaf of the bread that Ken Forkish baked in the video above but our Pit member, bread baking friend, Pequod , stepped it up a notch. He put it seam side down and scored it!!! This is a kick ass loaf of bread and a great picture!!!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Breadhead; March 10th, 2017, 11:58 PM.

    Comment


    • Steve Vojtek
      Steve Vojtek commented
      Editing a comment
      OK I'm interested....time to try something new I guess... Time to venture out of my comfort zone...

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Steve... you will be glad you moved up to 75% hydration bread. You will love the softness of the crumb, how it feels in your mouth. I would put it in your DO seam side up to start. Scoring a 75% hydration loaf isn't easy.
  • scottranda
    Charter Member
    • May 2015
    • 1541
    • Charlotte, NC

    #7
    Breadhead what do you do differently for scoring a high hydration dough?

    Comment


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Nothing... just hope and pray that you did everything just right. If your gluten was developed right and your final shaping was tight and you timed your proofing just right everything will be alright. If that doesn't go right you will have a bowl of batter not bread dough.

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      I would go seam side up for your first few loaves of Forkish' high hydration bread. Pay close attention to how the gluten develops, so you understand that better on your next loaf. The reason he suggests seam side up is developing a 75% dough just right so you can score it is not an easy task.

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