What is a general rule of thumb water to flour ratio for a standard bread recipe?

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by abefroman, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. abefroman

    abefroman

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    What is a general rule of thumb water to flour ratio for a standard bread recipe?
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    This is where hydration percentage comes into it. I'm not very good with it, but it describes the ratio of flour and water.  By weight I think it is, not volume. KYH can explain it, I know. There's actually a range of  hydration that produce different kinds of breads.

    In regard to your olive bread, it's quite close to the recipe I use for Focaccia (From the Herbfarm cookbook). This is why I mention it will be a soft dough as it's the same ratio of water to flour, with some extra olive oil.
     
  3. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Hydration for "standard" loaf reaches 62-67% by weight, so take the weight of the fould you're using and multiply it by 67%.  THAT product is the weight of water to be used in that dough.

    I think that foccacia or ciabatta extends beyond 70% and results in a very slack dough.

    Checkout these two books:
    1. BREAD by Hamelman
    2. THE BREAD BIBLE by Beranbaum
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
  4. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Abe, the thing to remember, in a dough formula, is that the flour component is always 100%. Everything else is measured against that, by weight.

    In other words, the total, in any formula, will always exceed 100%, sometimes dramatically so. F'rinstance, if the water in a particular formula is 65%, and the yeast .9%, and the olive oil 6.5%, and the salt 2% the total for that formula will be 174.4%

    I mention this because many people are, apparently, confused by it. I just had a friend raise that very question. He was exasperated, and wondered how the total in a particular dough could be 282+%

    In general, formulae aren't something the home baker need worry about, because their function is to help commercial bakers when multiplying. 

    F'rinstance, it's one thing for you to, say, double a recipe. In that olive bread, that means going from 20.25 ounces of flour to 40.5 and maintaining the relationship of the other ingredients. No big deal. But what if you were starting with a 50 lb bag of flour, and wanted to double that? How much water would you use? How much yeast? Etc.

    Kokopuffs: All my references show ciabatta as a very slack dough, and the water usually extends well into the 80s. With foccacia it's usually in the mid- to high 70s, also a relatively slack dough.
     
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  5. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    KYH:  yes, I stand corrected on the percentage of water in ciabatta and foccacia as I haven't reviewed their percentages in years.  Sheesh.

    And my standard torpedo (aka batard in French) clocks in at 67-70% water.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  6. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    And my standard torpedo (aka batard in French) clocks in at 67-70% water.

    I haven't done the math, but I'm guesing mine is in the same ballpark. I use Peter Reinhart's Pain de Campagne as my standard bread dough. Although the direct water is only 63%, the pre-ferment is 168.4%, and it's got a 65% water content.
     
  7. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Poolish for 6C Loaf
    Flour 2.25 C
    Water 1 1/3 C - 2 TBS
    Yeast .16 tsp
    6 C Loaf Remaining Ingredients
    Flour 3.75 C
    Water 1 1/3 C - 2 TBS
    Yeast 1.3 tsp
    Salt 1.9 tsp
    Seeds 1/3 C

    You can figure out the hydration for yourself but this chart has worked for me for over the past 3 years.