Conversions

terry31039
I have found lots of conversion tables but am some what confused. In the starter recipe it says 50g water, 35g white flour and 15g rye flour. Are these measures volume or weight measures?


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LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 13
They are weight measurements in grams.  Weights are used when baking because the amount of product can vary so much depending on how you measure it with a volume measurement.  Getting a scale and weighing my ingredients help me become a much better baker.
lamp's picture
lamp 2008 December 14
If I were you I would get a scale rather than converting to volume if you want to get consistent results. It really does help! :-)
terry31039 2008 December 15
Lead Dog,

When I started my starter I put a cup on the scale and poured in 50g of water. This was not enough water to disolve the flour. 50g was less than 1/8 cup. I added enough to disolve the flour. Did I mess up doing that?
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 15
No you are fine.  The amount of water in the starter can run from a very dry dough to a very wet batter.  You were making a starter of 100% hydration.  You might as well get use to what percent hydration means because we use it a lot.  The amount of flour in your starter or dough is always 100% and the water is a percent according to its ratio to the flour.  You had equal parts of flour to water so you get 100% hydration.  Lets say you had 75 grams of water to 50 grams of flour then your hydration would be 150%.  I have heard beginners find it easier to use a higher hydration starter so for use what you find works for you.  Right now you just want to start taking some steps and then after you learn a few things you can start trying different things.
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 18
[quote=terry31039]Lead Dog,

When I started my starter I put a cup on the scale and poured in 50g of water. This was not enough water to disolve the flour. 50g was less than 1/8 cup. I added enough to disolve the flour. Did I mess up doing that?
[/quote]
I thought I would follow up that question with some pictures.  Here is my sourdough starter that is getting ready to make bread.  The amount of starter from the fridge is 9 grams, flour 17 grams and water is 10 grams.  This is a starter of 55% hydration.  You just need to keep working the dough around in the flour and it will pick it all up.


Stiff Starter

The dough is quite plaible too.
more stiff starter

I added more flour and water to this then made my bread.
I hope that helps.
davo 2008 December 18

Wow that's (to me) dry. Most peoples' starters seem to be between say 80 and 100%. Mine's usually around 90% although I must admit I'm a bit loose on the exact numbers. I'm not sure how active it would/could get if down at 55% - I just don't know that there would be enough water to allow the bugs to get around. I gather a really dry mix is useful for long-term storage without feeding, but as starter to make bread, I don't know about that...
terry31039 2008 December 19
Yes, the pictures do help as this is my very first try at making a starter without sugar and yeast. This is the fifth day and there is not much happening with it. Just a few bubbles. I am following the recipe from the tutorial on this web site.
terry31039 2008 December 20
Thanks Lead Dog! I need those words of incouragement. This is the seventh day and still not much, but it does seem to have increased in volum a bit. I will stick with it.
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 20
Terry this is the cool time of the year for us so the starter will be a bit slower to get going.  You wouldn't happen to have a warm spot that is around 85-90 degrees would you?
terry31039 2008 December 20
Yes, LeadDog, I do keep it in a warm spot where it stays between 80-85. However, I am at 4500 feet elevation and that may cause it to be slow. We do have servel grape vinards around here so the yeast spores should be good. Maybe slow at this time of year though.
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