October 28, 2020 - 5:20pm
adjusting hydration levels for whole grain quickbreads and cookies?
I need a bit of advice on how to convert quick bread recipes to whole grain and have them stay moist. The Bread Lab at Washington State University argues that it is just a matter of adjusting the hydration level. But, when I look at whole grain bread recipes I really see both the hydration level and the time to absorb the moisture being involved.
What is the best hydration level for a whole grain quick bread or a cookie?
How do I give time for the flour to absorb the moisture?
Lets keep this simple and say that it is just whole grain wheat flour.
"What is the best hydration level for a whole grain quick bread or a cookie?"
That's as variable and subject to personal preference as the hydration level of bread. And would naturally depend on a handful of variables such as ingredients/inclusions, size/mass of the loaf, baking time, and baking temp.
When you "convert" a formula/recipe by making a major change of ingredients, such as going from all white flour to all whole grain, you are essentially inventing a whole new formula. which necessarily involves trial and error. In other words, you're on your own.
You can also search online for whole grain recipes and see what hydration % others use in whole grain quick breads. be sure to include "recipe" in your search terms.
allrecipes.com has a nice search-by-ingredient feature.
That said, here is how I approached inventing my own whole grain muffins, which are essentially quickbreads:
1. go by feel when determining hydration. add water until it feels right, keeping track of additions. Or set aside a known quantity, say 200 g water, and after making additions, weigh again, and subtract from 200.
How do you know what feels right? --- trial and error -- experience.
2. be aware that inclusions will either absorb water/oil, or add their own.
3. Oil, eggs, sugar, syrups, etc., will also affect how much water is needed.
Good luck, and bon appétit.