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Hydration and Floor Temp - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Hydration and Floor Temp

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  • Hydration and Floor Temp

    Correct me if I'm wrong about this but I think that if my dough has a higher hydration it will take longer to brown. I was thinking that I might make a couple of batches of dough, one higher hydration (65%) and one lower hydration (62%). The plan is to start with the wetter dough and as the floor gets cooler use the dryer dough. Has anyone tried this or have any thoughts on this idea?

  • #2
    Re: Hydration and Floor Temp

    Hi Dave!

    In theory your logic is sound, but I think there are enough variables that you will never see the effect in real life. You are probably only talking a ten second difference on a 750 degree hearth and the hearth temp, toppings and dome temp all conspire to influence the baking time.

    There is another complication which is that wetter doughs tend to have bigger bubbles and that can lead it to browning/burning faster and might lead one to want a cooler hearth for wetter doughs.

    I think the easiest solution is simply bake it until it is "right".

    If your hearth is getting noticeably cold it was probably inadequately heat loaded OR you have a leaky hearth. In either case it is easy to rake the coals out and recharge the hearth, sweep the coals back and continue...

    Good luck!
    Jay

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    • #3
      Re: Hydration and Floor Temp

      What does the percent of water mean?

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      • #4
        Re: Hydration and Floor Temp

        When i followed the recipe in the e-book, the dough was very sticky. i ended up adding more flour. Has anyone had this problem?

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        • #5
          Re: Hydration and Floor Temp

          The % hydration is the weight of the water in the dough divided by the weight of the flour, expresses as %. Wetter doughs are stickier and more challenging to handle but there are those of us who believe wetter doughs give better texture and oven spring.

          Learning to work with wet doughs takes time and experience.

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          • #6
            Re: Hydration and Floor Temp

            When i followed the recipe in the e-book, the dough was very sticky
            Were you using the Caputo 00 flour? Different flours work best at different hydrations.

            If you give us an idea of what exact ingredients and procedures you were using, we may have a better idea of what to suggest.
            My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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            • #7
              Re: Hydration and Floor Temp

              If you are used to working with old school style doughs, meaning non-artisan bread types, ANYTHING is going to seem sticky, but VPN-style pizza dough is one of the wettest types of dough you will ever encounter.
              What we junkies seem to agree upon is that in WFO land, the wetter the dough, the better the final product. Sticky/wet and VERY floppy is not only correct, it's good. You just need to give yourself time and practice to get used to working with it because for most people, even experienced bread bakers, it's a whole different animal.
              Another thing we junkies agree on is that handling technique is as or more important than the actual dough. Learning to work and shape that really wet dough with a minimum of handling will be utterly worth your while.
              You may find it useful to start with a bit dryer dough and gradually work your way up to 70-75% hydration with subsequent pizza bakes, paying attention to technique and results to find what works best for you.

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              • #8
                Re: Hydration and Floor Temp

                75? I'm impressed. Still, the question was about the recipe in the e-book, which I don't have to hand, but I assume is pretty much the same as this:

                500 grams Caputo Tipo 00 pizza flour
                325 grams water (65% hydration)
                10 grams salt
                3 grams active dry yeast

                from here.

                65 percent hydration shouldn't be so sticky as to be unworkable, with a bit of bench flour.

                And as to the "baker's percentages": professional bakers use recipes based in percentages with the weight of flour being 100 %. That way recipes can easily and accurately be resized to produce the amount desired.
                My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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                • #9
                  Re: Hydration and Floor Temp

                  My point to the OP to suggest that "sticky" is relative. I recall that as a newbie to bread in general, I thought anything that was tacky enough to attach even a little bit to my hands or the board was sticky. As I became more proficient, my definition of sticky changed. Likewise my pizza dough learning curve. I'm certain 65% seemed sticky to me at first. Now 75% seems about right, 80% is sticky, but as you said, it depends on the flour, too.

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