The Wood-Fired Blog

Dough Structure and High Hydration Dough

Sourdough Rye

I am making sourdough rye today, and pulled out Hamelman’s  Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes (a really good bread technique book) to looks for some new ideas — and I think I had another ah hah moment.

The Hamelman recipe for a mixed flour Miche calls for 60% whole wheat, 20% whole rye and 20% bread flour, and 83% hydration. Yep. 83% hydration. I was already in motion with 64% whole wheat, 20% whole rye and 16% AP (from the starter), with a multi-stage, and only (haha) 73% hydration — which is typically a lot of water, so I read the instructions more closely. My problem with these high hydration formulas is that my bread tends to ooze sideways, stay flat and not give me the rise/spring that I want. This definitely happens with my wetter baguettes. I also have trouble scoring really wet dough, but that’s a topic for another day.

What I found is Hamelman recommends folding the dough three times at 40-minute intervals, after mixing the pre-fermentation build with the final dough and bulk fermenting the dough for 2 1/2 hours. Then a final 2 1/2 hour proof in linen lined proofing basket.

Thinking about this more, I can see that the extra folding should give my wet dough the strength (body, structure) it needs.

I hope this works.