Sebastien How

experiments on all things.

Effects of Hydration and Kneading on Bread

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As an experiment I wanted to see what differences kneading and hydration had on the final crumb structure of my bread. This was partly due to seeing a reddit post where someone decided to compare 2 different ways of making bread, one no knead and the other kneaded and then showed two breads but the recipe had changed as well. As is to be done in science and experiments, you need to minimize the variables that change. This is my attempt and results.

Both sets of bread have been made with the same recipe except that the top row is 65% hydration and the bottom is 75% hydration.

Each set of breads was mixed in a kitchen aid first with the paddle to incorporate dry and wet together, then mixed with the dough hook for 0, 5 and 10 minutes. So one bread is no knead, one is mixed for 5 min and one for 10 min.

The dough was left to rise for 2.5h, then shaped and placed into bread pans to proof for 1h. The bread was then baked in a 450 F oven on top of a baking stone for 45 min.

Full recipe:

  • 100% flour (Rogers summit unbleached)
  • 75% ( or 65%) water
  • 1% yeast
  • 1.6% salt

My initial impressions and thoughts:

  1. I still have a hard time dealing with a very wet dough and couldn’t really shape and work it well.
  2. shaping seems to have a large effect on how the bread raises.
  3. The less hydrated dough seems to have less and smaller air pockets.
  4. the longer a dough was kneaded the more is seems to be even in final structure.
  5. Dough hydration seems to have a greater effect on air pocket crumb structure then mixing does
  6. They’re all still pretty similar
  7. I need to practice my shaping technique more to be more consistent.

65% hydration Bread 75% hydration Bread