Sourdough Tips: Changing Your Hydration Rate

Thursday, December 11, 2014

When we did our survey a few months back you asked for some more "Tips and Tricks" type posts, so we thought we would start out by talking about hydration rate.

The hydration of your dough is the amount of flour compared to the amount of water in your starter. We recommend maintaining a 100% starter, which means the amount of flour and water is the same.

But some recipes call for different hydration rates based on what you are making.
  • Lower hydration (50-70%) starters are firm and great for recipes that need to be kneaded a lot and hold a shape well (think challah and bagels) and tends to make dough that is not very sticky. 
  • Higher hydration starters (125%) are more watery, and allow the starter to eat through its food supply faster. These are easier to mix, but they tend to be stickier doughs, and generally don't hold up well to a lot of kneading (instead you can stretch and fold), but they also tend to need longer baking times.
To figure out how to change your hydration rate you can use the following formula:
Fg + (SH% * Fg) = SRG

where Fg= flour weight in grams, SH% is the starter hydration percentage (such as ).50 for a 50% starter hydration) and SRg = starter amount required by recipe in grams. Most recipes that don't use a 100% hydration call for either 50% or 125% hydration, so you can skip the math and use the following directions:


To change a 100% hydration starter to a 50% hydration 
You need to feed it 1 part starter : 2 parts flour :1 part water

Take 100 g of your 100% starter.
Feed it 120g flour and 100 g water.
Cover and keep on the counter, continuing to feed it 2 parts flour and 1 part water every 12 hours for 2 days. 

Your 50% hydration starter is now ready to use.




To change a 100% hydration starter to a 125% hydration
You need to feed it 1 part starter:1 part flour: 2 parts water

Take 100 g of your 100% starter.
Feed it 100 g of flour and 125 g of water.
Cover and keep it on the counter, continuing to feed it 1 part water and 2 parts flour every 12 hours for 2 days.
Your 125% hydration starter is now ready to use.


Well, there you go!

Whatever hydration rate you keep your starter at is up to you, but just remember that you might need to make adjustments to your recipe when you use them.

(**Note, this information will be posted in our "About Sourdough" tab from now on!)


Sourdough Surprises - December

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Super job on those amazing dinner rolls, guys!!

As we look towards December, we are getting pretty excited about the upcoming holidays. So that's where we looked for our baking inspiration!  All cultures have their own holiday food traditions, but one that we've always loved is stollen. With its roots in Germany, stollen is a style of fruit cake, usually containing dried or candied fruits, sometimes containing marzipan, and almost always covered or crusted with a delicious coating of powdered sugar.

There is no shortage of inspiration online for recipe options. You can also use your creativity when it comes to your flavorings and mix-ins.  Will you use dried or candied fruit? Will you use this as an opportunity to learn how to candy your own citrus peel or make your own marzipan? Take a quick look around and you'll see that the options and inspiration are endless! Check out our Pinterest Monthly Inspiration board for some examples to get you started (including one from one of our very own members...!) and let your festive creativity guide your way!


To join us this month:
1. Choose a recipe and bake a festive, delicious stollen, utilizing your sourdough starter!
2. Take some photos and blog about it on December 20, 2014
3. Make sure that you include a back link to our blog somewhere in your post (make sure it says "www.sourdoughsurprises.blogspot.com"!
4. Follow this link: get the InLinkz code and choose the HTML code that works best for you and your blog. Copy and paste it into the HTML section of your blog. You will know you have done it correctly if you see a blue link appear.
5. Make sure you enter your post into the linky tool on reveal day so everyone can see what you have made!

Don't forget that you can share your pictures on Facebook, twitter or Instagram with #sourdoughsurprises at any time during the month so we can see!

Have a fun idea for us to do? Want your monthly creation displayed on our page? Want to join us even if you don't have a blog! Awesome! Just send us an email at sourdoughsurprises@gmail.com! 



Sourdough Dinner Rolls

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Well, you guys did it again. You took a hint of inspiration and ran with it, and, in the process, created amazing amounts of deliciousness!

This month we challenged you to use your starters and make the opposite of a traditional sourdough bread - rather than dense, savory loaves, we asked you to create soft, pillow-y dinner rolls.

And boy did you guys deliver!


The perfect accompaniment to any meal, these rolls are a serving of soft sourdough perfection!

Check out all of the amazing varieties that were created this month!




I don't know about you, but I have a feeling some of these rolls are going to be making an appearance at Thanksgiving this year!

And don't forget to stop back in a couple of days to see what we have in store for you for December!



Sourdough Surprises - November

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Awesome job on the croissants, guys! We knew you could do it! Wasn't as hard as you thought, was it? :)

This month we thought we would try our hand at making some soft and fluffy dinner rolls! We aren't talking sandwiches here, we are thinking instead the small, soft, pillowy buns made for slabs of butter beside a plate full of food.

We are recommending you check out this recipe (which is actually for a loaf of bread but it will be awesome as rolls)! and this recipe, which is a bit easier, but please also check out our Pinterest Monthly Inspiration board for other ideas and recipes to try.


To join us this month:
1. Choose a recipe and bake some nice soft rolls, utilizing your sourdough starter!
2. Take some photos and blog about it on November 20, 2014
3. Make sure that you include a back link to our blog somewhere in your post (make sure it says "www.sourdoughsurprises.blogspot.com"!
4. Follow this link:
get the InLinkz code and choose the HTML code that works best for you and your blog. Copy and paste it into the HTML section of your blog. You will know you have done it correctly if you see a blue link appear.
5. Make sure you enter your post into the linky tool on reveal day so everyone can see what you have made!

Don't forget that you can share your pictures on Facebook, twitter or Instagram with #sourdoughsurprises at any time during the month so we can see!



Have a fun idea for us to do? Want your monthly creation displayed on our page? Want to join us even if you don't have a blog! Awesome! Just send us an email at sourdoughsurprises@gmail.com! 

We can't wait to see what you guys come up with! :) Have fun!
~Shelley and Jenni 





Sourdough Croissants

Monday, October 20, 2014



We definitely gave you guys a challenge this month! Laminated dough seems like it is so hard, but in reality its more labor intensive than it is technique. Adding sourdough to your croissants really enhances and deepens the flavor - and makes it super delicious!

Whether you choose to smear yours with nutella, use them as a sandwich or enjoy them as is, these croissants were great!!



Link up your Sourdough Croissants here! And if you like, email us a photo of your croissants and we will add it to this post!


An InLinkz Link-up

And make sure you check back in a few days to see what we are making next! 


Survey Results & New Stuff!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!


Thank You to all of our readers who took a few minutes to fill out our survey this past week! And also thanks for putting up with you as we berated you for a solid week about this survey. You are good friends! Your input is very important to us and we are so grateful that you like us enough to share your thoughts so we can keep this site running smoothly!

We thought we would take a minute to show you the results and talk about where we are going from here and what changes we will be making! :) This is probably the longest post we have ever had here, so grab a snack and settle in!

We were so interested to learn that that 80% of you are beginners (5 years or less) when it comes to sourdough! We are so excited that you are excited and want to learn more and utilize your starters in new ways! You all indicated that you would really like for us to include more actual recipes for you to start with, as well as tips and tricks for how to use your starter to help you feel more confident in your sourdough baking. You got it! We will start working on those now and start publishing some  non-challenge related posts randomly in the coming months.

We noticed that 10 of you have been working with your starters for an amazing 10+ years! If that happens to be you, can you shoot us an email to sourdoughsurprises@gmail.com? We are going to start working on some highlight posts that focus on tips and tricks for working with sourdough, and we could definitely use your amazing expertise!

Apparently the majority of you (70%!) have found us randomly through Google searches! That is really awesome! We also noticed that only a tiny few of you (6 people to be exact) came via a recommendation from someone else. So you know what that means, right? If you like us so much, why don't you pretty please share us with your friends?
For Non-bloggers: 
Hi! Even though you don't have a blog, we want you to know that we definitely want you to join in as well! Even though you can't link up, we still encourage you to email us a photo and we will include it on our reveal post. You don't have to include a recipe or any lengthy description, and you don't need to have foodgawkr photos, either. Or, put your photo up on Facebook, twitter or instagram with the #sourdoughsurprises hashtag for all to see! Any level of participation that you are comfy with, so are we!

For Busy People:
We get it. Life is crazy sometimes. We both have 2 kids, other blogs, prior responsibilities, generally a busy life. Often times at least one of us is rushing to complete the challenge on time.  Even if you are late, please feel free to link up, or at least email us a picture.  No recipe is needed, just a brief description of what you made.
Secondly, I know we say the reveal day is the 20th of each month, but we always, always leave the link form open until the end of the month in case you are late. (and we can always add photos  even later, too).
In conclusion, we aren't really picky and any time and way you can participate, we are glad! Even if you make something totally in the wrong month, let us know and we will put it on our Pinterest boards or showcase it on Facebook. (See, we aren't picky at all. We just want to spread the love!)

We noticed that 50% of you have never participated in a challenge with us! And that's fine, we totally get busy, or you just like to come watch, or whatever your reason is. We love that we can inspire you anyways, and hope you learn something as well, and also encourage you to drop us a message, a photo, whatever, anytime you like. We host challenges, but we always want to see what you are making! 
Challenges: 
Almost all of you asked for us to start including a challenge recipe for you. We can totally start doing this again! :) 
A lot of you suggested doing a "pick one" challenge where you get to pick a challenge we have done in the past. That's a brilliant idea and we are totally going to do it! We were actually thinking of doing that very thing for our third anniversary challenge this spring, so be on the look-out for that! 

**If you have never noticed before, we have this awesome little sidebar list (under Archive) that includes all the challenges that we have made to date. Click on the link and it will take you to the reveal for that particular challenge and show you all the things made for it. We are also working on getting a brand new page set up for our recipes, so be on the lookout for that coming soon!

We also have a Pinterest board for each challenge, so you can see what we have made that way, too. Please feel free to browse through all those for tons of recipes and lots of inspiration!

Linking up:
Several of you said you didn't really understand how to link up your blog post. We are sorry, we thought we had made this clear! The process isn't too complicated,  here are some more detailed instructions if you need help! (sometimes things go crazy, and it doesn't work. If that happens don't hesitate to contact us and we will help you!)
  1. Make your recipe. We always include inspirational recipes for you to look at, but you can use whatever recipe you like, whatever flavors you want, anything goes as long as you stick with the theme.
  2. Write a blog post and have it scheduled to post on the 20th of the month. 
  3. Make sure you have "www.sourdoughsurprises.blogspot.com" as a hyperlink in your post. (If you live outside the US double check the ".com" part because often times your server changes it to a different ending).
  4. When your post goes live, make sure you add your link to our linky tool
    1. Copy and paste the link of your blog post (the actual post)
    2. Come visit our website
    3. Click on the button that says "enter your link" on the post and follow the directions!

  5. If you choose, you can also have the link tool on your blog! This helps others see what we have made, too, and maybe will inspire more people! To do this:
    1. go to the blog post where we reveal the challenge and follow the "get the inLinkz code" link. 
    2. Copy the HTML code provided
    3. Paste this into the HTML section of your blog
Tips and Resources: 
Like we mentioned already, we will be putting together some posts on tips, and techniques, as well as getting input from various sourdough veterans! 

Don't forget that we also have a page dedicated for sourdough information! And we have made a new tab for "sourdough resources" that lists links for other places you can find information on sourdough, as well as cookbook recommendations and other info. So please check that out! (and if you have any suggestions of things you would like to see here, please let us know!)




Social Media: 
You guys said you definitely want more interaction on social media, so we will try our hardest to keep that going! (and we totally expect to you to keep up your share, too, haha). 
Throughout the month we will randomly highlight blogging member's submissions on Facebook and twitter. Sometimes they will be what we made the last challenge, and sometimes they will be something completely different.


Share your pictures between bloggers and non-bloggers, help encourage creativity and participation, all without a time frame! Anytime you happen to make something from or for us, go ahead and use the hash-tag so we can all see it! And we are always open to conversation and discussions as well!
Don't follow us yet? Check us out on: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ 


Pinterest:
If you hadn't noticed already, we happen to really like Pinterest. Its a great way to save and share information easily. We already talk about our Monthly Inspiration board a lot (that's where you can see inspirational recipes for each month). Several of you mentioned that you would like a place to see those recipes when its not the monthly challenge. We would like to invite you to check out our Awesome Breads board and our Inspiring Uses board for all kinds of awesome sourdough recipes. We also have a Resources board for all kinds of good information on sourdough as well. And each challenge month gets its own special board where we pin all the recipes that were made for that month's challenge. There is a ton of good stuff here, so please check it out! 


Yay! You made it to the end! Again, than you so much for not only filling out our survey, but being here in general! We are excited to start getting some new things rolling, and hope you like the changes that we make.

Can't wait to see what you guys make next! :)

Jenni and Shelley 


A brief use of your time...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hi friends! We are doing a super short survey that we would love for you to help us with! We will only take a few moments of your time (its 10 questions!) but we want to make sure we are all on the same page and see how we can better serve you! THANKS! 

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.