The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sticky wet dough? or firm dough?

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aminet's picture
aminet

Sticky wet dough? or firm dough?

I often hear, "wet dough is better" for lean breads like bagettes.

Is that also true for enriched breads as well?

It's realy hard to tell what the dough needs or what it should feel like, especially when using egg because it acts as a leaven as well as liquid.

I am wondering what would be the difference be, if there is any, between high %hydration dough and lower %hydration.

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

In general, wet doughs have more gas activity thus producing a coarser structure (bigger holes) to the finished dough. Dryer doughs work when you have stuff in your bread (nut, berries, seeds, etc) because the stuff is held in place more uniformly and does not fall to the bottom of the loaf. It also makes a tighter crumb. Enriched doughs usually add some liquid which must be accounted for and can retard the activity of the yeasts which is why they usually call for more yeast. 

But ... I guess I am not sure of your exact question because there are many issues at play here. 

Are you following a recipe or trying to make one up?  If you are following a well known recipe, then follow it closely and feel what the dough is like and that will give you a basis for your goal. If you are trying to learn about hydration in doughs then concentrate on basic doughs with no enrighments and learn what hydration does.

Sorry if this is vague.

Paul Kobulnicky

Baking in Ohio