Monthly Science: Silica Gel Status Report

The last of the silica gel from one bulk can went into a mesh bag:

Silica gel beads in mesh bag
Silica gel beads in mesh bag

That kept a batch of fresh-baked crackers crisp during several humid days. It started out at 110 g net = 112 g gross (with bag and ties), rose to 115 g after a day, then to 117 g by the time we were done with the crackers. That’s about 5 g of water = 4.5% by weight, so those charts say the humidity should be under 10 %RH, which agrees with the fading blue dot on the humidity indicator card I dropped in the can.

When the bag gets up to 130 g = 30 %RH, then it’ll be time for a recharge… or, more likely, a refill from one of the remaining three cans.

4 thoughts on “Monthly Science: Silica Gel Status Report

  1. > fresh-baked crackers

    Hmmmm… pizza dough pulled really, really thin and then baked? Or have you got another trick up your sleeve?

    1. It’s the simplest possible cracker recipe: blend whole wheat flour, water, salt. Roll to about 2 mm, cut into cracker-like shapes, bake on cookie sheets until really crisp.

      I did this batch without toppings to get a feel for the process, which was a Very Good Thing. The as-blended dough came out somewhat wet and, after correcting that, the suggested baking time was too low by about half. The crackers came out mighty fine, though, and didn’t survive very long.

      Next time: add various & sundry toppings before baking …

      1. Well, excluding the option of e.g. some yeast and probably less salt that is a pizza dough. Maybe you should try if adding a little olive oil early in the process improves the flavor too. ;)

        Fyi, pizza dough is 3 parts (whole wheat) flour to 1 part water. I like to put in some (whole wheat) semolina, but I’m still experimenting with the specifics. For now it’s 2 flour; 1 semolina; 1 water. Rolling it out but cutting it in cracker slices should result in fine crackers, but I haven’t yet tried that. I’d probably add in some (whole) oats or something if I did, and instead of putting salt in the dough I think I’d sprinkle a bit of crude sea salt on top.

        If you mix your stuff in a food processor, I guess it simply all goes in at once. Personally I quite like kneading dough, and besides I think cleaning “time-saving” food processors is quite the bother.

        1. still experimenting with the specifics

          Nobody’s spurned my pizza yet, so it must be at least OK.

          mix your stuff in a food processor

          I use a mixer, although I suppose I should regard kneading as upper-body exercise. The bowl cleans with a quick wipe (assuming I get it before the remnants dry out) and the dough hook needs little more than a rinse.

          We agree on food processors, though: that blade scares me silly. I used it for this batch of dough, because that’s what the recipe called for, but I’ll use the mixer from now on.

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