The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can I save my too wet dough

Dot's picture

Can I save my too wet dough

I have started to make some basic wholewheat bread from a recipe from Laurel's Bread Book (pg.80 for those who have her book).  I was particularly careful about the ingredient measurements.  I was also using my KA mixer for the first time (previously always kneaded by hand). Also, for the first time, I am using organic stoneground wholewheat bread flour from a local organic mill (protein 12½%)    I mixed the ingredients by hand, let it rest for a few minutes then put it in the mixer for 4 mins. (a friend recommended the timing).  The dough was still very wet and sticky so I mixed it for another few minutes.  Still very sticky so I slowly added about 2 tbs. flour.  I did not want to add too much extra flour.  Still too sticky so I took it out of the mixer and started to knead it by hand (painful for me as I have arthritis in my wrists).  After about 10 mins. I had to give up.  The dough was still sticking to the counter and to my hands.  I folded it into a ball, flouring my hands a little to get some tension and then let it rise.  After about 1 ½ hrs. it was ready (finger test) but still too sticky - sticking to my hands when I took it out of the bowl.  I have degassed it and have now put it in the fridge.  Can I salvage this or what!                          



dabrownman's picture

sticky to shape after coming out of the fridge, it will be less sticky before it warms up, you can always shape it into a loaf with S&F's, pan it up, let it rise and bake it tinned.  No worries.

Farmpride's picture

can you post the formula? i am looking for a possible problem other than flour/water.. for instance, taste the dough, did you over salt it? this can destroy the gluten..and that is just one...tell us about the sour you used and did you stir it real well...but barring all the possible accidents one can easily make, like the prevous poster said, the fridge time should help allot.



Dot's picture

Thank you for this Dabrownman.  The bread ended up rising beautifully and turned out better than expected.  The crumb was good although the loaves were a little heavy and very dark.  It also tasted slightly salty, maybe because I used sea salt for the first time.  I usually use 'half & half' salt.  I'm glad the very expensive flour wasn't completely wasted!

margaretsmall's picture

I'm having this problem too - I recently bought Reinhart's Artisan breads Every Day and decided to work my way through.  I'm up to the 100% wholemeal one. Every dough has been far too wet, no chance of holding its shape without a bread tin without adding heaps more flour, even after the cold rise in the fridge. And I so want to have those lovely round boules. This last one I reduced the water by 25ml and made rolls which held their shape a little, but not as I would have wanted. I live in a relatively dry environment, so I would have thought it is not a case of the flour having a higher moisture content than in the US (I'm in australia). I followed the recipe exactly, and it certainly proofed well in the fridge, in fact I had to bake it sooner than I planned because it was bulging over the top of the bowl. I intend continuing to reduce the water until it seems right. Right for me, that is.