The temperature of your dough affects quite a lot to how it acts when baking – if you have warmer hands or warmer weather it’s likely to be more stickier than on a cold day or with cooler hands. Well, it is quite difficult to change your body temperature or turn off the sun so measuring the ingredients with a thermometer is a good way to at least have your dough started at the right heat.
I didn’t before see the need for this exact measuring, but after realizing how I had used way too warm water due to my old thermometer (also my hand), I changed my mind. But I still say – it’s not obligatory.
A good dough temperature varies between 21-25°C. A good rule is to use your common sense – if it is the coldest day of the year, but you know you’ll heat up the room to over 20°C by warming up the fireplace, there is not that much sense of reading the weather and making a warm dough. So yeah – the warmer expected the cooler dough desired.
And then some math! Baking can be quite scientific, too. Here is the formula; desired dough temperature x 2 – flour temperature = desired water temperature. Let’s say you want dough of 21°C, ’cause it’s a hot Finnish summer. Our flour is as warm as 27°C now and then we want to know how cold water we need. So..?
21 x 2 – 27 =15. So that means water should be 15°C. Living so high up here, the coolest water my tap allows me to get at this time of the year is around 17°C, so having some water in the fridge is essential to get it correct. Then you just do some more measuring to get your water to the correct temperature and voilá – we got it!
As said before, this formula can also be seen on the Gallery-page among the pictures of White bread with overnight sponge, it’s the “Schedule” -photo.