The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sticky Doughs

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jerryf01's picture
jerryf01

Sticky Doughs

      I recently bought a new mixer, Electrolux Assistent and while learning to use it went to my friends house where we did two batches of the same dough, using bread flour on one and AP on the other. The forumla was Pain Italien from Benard Clayton's New complete Book of Breads. Using bread flour we acheived a sticky dough that was hard to move to an oiled bowl, where the AP batch was like a baby's hind end, smooth and satiny, no stickiness what so ever. Both breads turned out well and I'm told that all's well that ends well. Both batches where weighed and used the same scale.

      But then I go home and do it again, but I use a locally milled flour ($23.39/25Kgs) that just says, "hard wheat flour". Thats it, no content notes or food value breakdowns as to protein content. I don't know where the wheat comes from, US, Australian, China? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is the stickiness is always there.

      OK, so my friend thinks nothing of buying the best of what ever, where as my income is only 1/2 of his and I have to watch my pennies. Now what can I add to get the smooth satiny finish that his AP flour provided? The bread always comes out good, but not as nice to work with.

     Another thing that I'm inquisitive about is B. Clayton calls for a first rise of 3Xs the original size. What is the reasoning behind this as most recipes only call for doubling the first rise?  Thx for your thoughts.

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

First the flour

Ap Vs bread ( hard wheat(

ap has a much lower proten count than ap and will give you a much firmer dough because it can absorbe much water water.  That does not mean you need to add more water that depends on what formula you were mixing.

since hard wheat flour has more gluten it can strech a lot more and can take more rise. thats the reason for the triple size rather than 2x because it can take it with falling. it also means that you can reasy full proof the bread befor it goes into the oven (alow it to rise more than 2X befor baking) you will get a lighter loaf.

lastly after my many years of baking i have seen one rule that holds true.  Most new or less experenced bakers tend to under mix dough espesialy when made with a hard wheat flour. they mix the dough till it comes clean from the bow; and think it is done. not true with hard wheat (high gluten flour) if you feel it at the point where ot comes clean you will see that it is still tacky.  hard wheat requires more mixing to develop all the gluten in it.  some doughs like bagles or hard rolls (kaiser rolls) need depending on the amount a full 10 minutes of mixing after the dough comes clean.  only trial and error as as gaining experence will truly tell when a dough is ready.

will all that said i would guess that you are under mixing the hard wheat flour dough and it was not fully mixed which is why is was tacky.

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

During the first fermentation you can do a punch and fold.  You can do the punch and fold every 30 or 45 minutes, and that should help in solving your sticky dough problem.  To see more about it, you can visit Mike Avery's webiste: 

http://www.sourdoughhome.com/stretchandfold.html

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Jerry,

I made this same bread this past weekend, although I mixed by hand rather than by machine.  I also used AP (Eagle Mills brand, which contains white whole wheat as part of the mix) and wound up with very gloppy dough.  Part of that I attribute to less than accurate measurement of the water; I used a Pyrex 4-cup measuring cup to measure out the 3 cups of water that the recipe calls for and I don't think that the markings on the measuring cup are especially accurate.  I had anticipated that the flour might be "thirstier" than normal AP because it contains whole wheat, but found myself in the position of needing to add more flour, rather than having to add more water.

I chose to deviate from the recipe (I've made it before and am acquainted with it's usual behavior) to accomodate a schedule need and to try a couple of techniques.  First, I autolysed 4 cups of the flour, along with the water, malt syrup and dry milk powder, for 30 minutes.  Then I added the salt and half the yeast.  Since the dough was too soft and sticky to knead effectively, I used the stretch and fold method.  While I got very good gluten development this way, the dough was still very wet and sticky.  Then I put it in an oiled plastic dough tub to rise in the refrigerator until I was ready to bake the next day. 

The dough rose beautifully but was still soft and sticky the next day.  I needed to flour the countertop so that I could shape it without it anchoring itself to the counter.  After shaping, I let it rise in a parchment paper couche.  The bread was slashed, then baked on a stone with steam for the first 10 minutes, after which I pulled the steam pan and let the bread finish baking.  Crust and crumb are both lovely and colored by the malt syrup. 

So, kind of a weird thing with the dough, but a happy ending.  I think that I may convert the quantities to a weight basis the next time I try making this.  That may influence the outcome somewhat.

Paul

jerryf01's picture
jerryf01

Thx Norm, you might have hit the nail on the head about under developed dough, as I made a different dough formula and it was sticky also.

CarlSF; did that, and added flour also. It was sticky when it came out of the mixer and it was sticky when it went into the oven, but then it crusted :^).

Paul; went the weight route, both dry and liquids. The only problem with the weight route is there seems to be no standards. On a General Mills AP bag I read 3 1/2 cups flour to the lb. and that works out to about 130 g to the cup. On some site I see 120g as the standard, and then I also see 135g per cup. Maybe one of these days the millers in the philippines will stoop to inform the customer how many g(s) is a cup.

I'm going to give Norm's idea a shot, and after mixing let it knead for a solid 10 mins, and see what if anything is different. Its really a great bread tho, love the taste, and no overnight retarding, altho  I want to try that also. Its only 6 cups so in the AM will do it again and see the results.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Jerry.

As usual, Norm has focused on the likely problem for sticky dough. For us home bakers it's hard to over develop I think. For me I find using the least expensive flour produces the best and most consistent results. I live in the US Midwest (Wisconsin) and have all the major brands of flour at the supermarket. The price of a 5 Lb bag of General Mills Harvest King or their Better for Bread in a bright Yellow bag is $2.35 -$2.65 depending on the store. Even the other AP flours are equal to or greater than that price. King Arthur is twice or more the cost.

As far as the weight of a cup of flour. This has been discussed endlessly here. Depending on how you scoop from the bag or container, your results could vary from 120-160 grams per cup. The fact that different brands are heavier or lighter, further complicates the issue. If you weigh your ingredients you don't need to care how you scoop. Using a scale is the only way you will have consistent results.

Hope that helps.

Eric 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Now that I'm in the habit of looking at the nutrition panel on flour bags to check the protein content, I notice that most of the U.S. producers list a 1/4 cup sample as being 30 grams.  This is on AP or bread flours.  Whole grain varieties may vary.

Paul

apprentice's picture
apprentice

The ideal scenario for accuracy leading to good results is a fine recipe already given in weights, and you bring out your trusty scale. Converting a volume-based recipe can be tricky, but experiments in weighing the flours you use will give you rules of thumb. I find, for example, that the organic whole rye flour I use is around 4.25 oz/120 grams per cup. A cup of my usual bread flour is 4.5 oz/128 grams. Etc.

Also, you can get an idea of the usual weights of a cup of this or that by looking at cookbooks you trust. One that gives both volume and weight measures. Hamelman comes to mind. I rely on him also to know how many tsp = a certain weight of teeny tiny amounts for things like instant yeast. I need to get a better scale!

All of that said, humidity and other factors come into play. Norm is absolutely right. Experience is the best teacher. You get to know what your bread feels and looks like when it's properly developed and ready to give you a loaf you'll love. Sounds like you're well on your way.

Carol

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Just ordered this scale today. It has a .01g accuracy and it is made by My Weigh. So hopefully it will be good. For us Americanians it is around $35 shipped. :) Not sure how much Canadians have to pay for shipping. Have a look:

http://www.overstock.com/Restaurant-Supplies/My-Weigh-MXT-100-Digital-Mini-Pocket-Scale/3318617/product.html

Rudy

apprentice's picture
apprentice

There's another one I've had my eye on, only slightly more expensive. I've heard good things abut the MY Weigh scale though. Will look at the issue more closely when I'm ready to buy. Having the link will be handy, so thanks again.

Carol

jerryf01's picture
jerryf01

OK, I made another batch weighing all ingredients and it would not come clean of the bowl, added another cup+ of flour and it finally come clean. Kneaded for a solid 10 min. and altho much better was still on sticky side, got it into an oiled bowl and retarded overnight in reffer, took out about 6:30 this AM and top was smooth and tacky- not sticky, but after turning out on counter, sticky came running back into my kitchen.

     OK, nothing left to do but flour the counter top and add a little flour to be able to shape it. Not easy but finally got shaped and letting it do final rise, going for two hrs. as I want to see just how much it can rise without falling.

     I do have a few bags of Bob's Red Mill white flour on hand, so next time I do this will try that. And I think I will cut down on the water about 130g, as I can add that later if it becomes necessary.

     I personally think that excact measurements are nice, but people have been baking fine breads for hundreds of years using scoop shovels. If 60g of flour out of 6-7 cups called for makes a critical difference, then I probably shouldn't be trying to do this.

Thx all for your time and effort.

     I'm going to stay with this formula and come out on top one way or another. 1Kg of flour is only $.85 plus incendentials and I can feed it to the dogs if nothing else (I luv bread puddings).

     One more quick question. Everyone agrees there is a difference in flours from one source to another, what about powdered milk? Could that have any thing to do with it being sticky? 

apprentice's picture
apprentice

May or may not have anything to do with the stickiness. But there is a difference between the kind of dry milk solids (DMS) used in bakeries and the kind you buy in the supermarket to reconstitute for drinking. The bakeshop variety called high-heat DMS is the best choice for use in yeast baked goods because the heat treatment denatures the whey protein that reduces gluten development and bread quality. It doesn't mix well with water, so that's why it's blended in with the dry ingredients.

Low-heat DMS has a fresher taste than high-heat DMS, but doesn't provide the added benefits. In baking, useful for some purposes but not for yeast-raised doughs.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

So if we are using dried milk, or low heat DMS, then we would get better results if we heat it up before combining with yeast or sourdough? Temp?

Mini O

apprentice's picture
apprentice

No expert, Mini O, but here's what I understand. There's a protein in milk that slowly decreases gluten development. The effect first becomes noticeable during fermentation. If the protein is not first destroyed by heat, bread dough softens and becomes slack, and oven spring decreases. Result is poor loaf volume and coarse texture.

Pasteurization isn't enough to inactivate the protein. That's why recipes using liquid milk ask you to scald and cool it before use, taking it at least to simmer (180F, 82C).

High heat DMS has been held at 190F (88C) for 30 minutes before undergoing the spray-dry process that turns it into powder. I don't think it's possible to convert low heat DMS into a high heat version by heating. Everything I've seen says that high heat DMS is the only DMS to use in yeast doughs.

If I couldn't get my hands on high heat DMS, I'd be tempted to use liquid milk instead. Here's the conversion formula: one pound whole milk = 2 oz (0.12 pounds) DMS plus 14 oz (0.88 ppounds) water. You'd also need to deduct the equivalent amount of water from the recipe.

Carol

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I was thinking more in the lines of adding it to some of the recipe water, dissolve, nuk it to boil watching carefully and then cooling.  something simple.  

Mini O

apprentice's picture
apprentice

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Right? Go for it! Let me know how it turns out.

Seems like it should work. After all, it's the same thing as using liquid milk but you don't have to correct for more liquid. Brilliant!

Carol

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

i have looked over all the posts and everybody here is triying to help  bit there is one thing missing.  lets see the formula the key to this is there.

jerryf01's picture
jerryf01

 Hmmm, could this be the guilty culprit?

I'm using the malt powder from Bob's RM, recipe calls for 1Tbsp of syrup, I susituted 1 for 1. 

 http://www.barryfarm.com/nutri_info/baking%20supplies/diastaticmaltpowder.htm

"Use approximately 1 tsp. per loaf.  The use of more diastatic malt than this can result in slack, sticky dough, and will not improve yeast action."

jerryf01's picture
jerryf01

1 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp malt syrup (I used malt powder, 1 for 1)(100% pure barley malt extract)

1/2 cup non-fat dry milk (I used dry milk powder? this could go either way)

2 pks dry yeast, (I used 5 tsp)

3 cups warm water (105-115F)

6 cups bread or AP flour

1 Tbsp oil.

( directions are to combine salt, yeast,non-fat dry milk, Malted Barley and water then add to 4 cups flour, adding by 1/2 cup per balance of flour) Author's discription, a soft, elastic, and warm to the touch.)

Since all my ingredients except the oil were dry, I added all to the flour then the water. Holding 2 cups back to add as I went. Wound up adding 3 cups and was still sticky.

     After reading, and re-reading the formula it isn't clear if it's DMP or liquid. In any case I' used DMP not the instant type. 

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

Jerry,

When you made this bread over at your friend's house, and he was using AP flour, did he used malt powder liked you just did?   And did you both used the exact same measurements when making this bread at his house?  By looking at your recipe, it is hard for me to get a feel or picture of how the characteristic of this bread dough will turn out since I'm so use to the ingredients being weighed out (baker's math).  

Here are some things you can try:

Use 1/2 tablespoon of malt powder instead of 1 tablespoon.

Go to your friend and borrow 7 cups of his AP flour or go to the market to buy 5lbs of AP flour and try to make this bread again with AP flour.

If your friend won't loan you 7 cups of his AP flour ask for 1 cup of his flour.  With that 1 cup of AP flour mix it with 1/2 cup of water and knead it together (water and flour) and see how the dough texture feels like.  Then use 1 cup of your bread flour and mix it with 1/2 cup of water and knead it together and see how the dough texture feels like.  Compare the 2 dough textures and consistencies.

 

Carl

jerryf01's picture
jerryf01

Carl; Visiting my friend requires an overnight trip, 50 mi., 4-6 hr. drive, boy that sounds strange doesn't it? 

      I can't just run to the market and buy this or that, I've never seen AP flour in the markets where I live, to get US AP flour I have to drive about 50 Mi.(over where my friend lives) and maybe 4-6 hrs traveling. It tuckers me out to make that trip.

     I have some Bob's Red Mill unbleached white flour, but it doesn't say AP or bread flour, just says it perfect to replace AP flour. At least they state that 1/4 cup is 34g.,so 1/4*4=136g. That works out to be about 3.33 cups per lb. At that rate six cups will only be 804g, So I'll give that a shot, knew I was saving that flour for something. :^) I'm going to subsitute sugar or brown sugar for the malt, as I'm out of honey. It has malted barley in the flour, so I won't be loseing anything by not adding it in.

      It's getting dark here so I'll do this in the AM where I have a lot of time to play with. Even tho I like this bread, making so much of it just might burn me out on it. The batch I made this AM just wasn't the same.  

apprentice's picture
apprentice

Hang in there, fella! You're doing great. These bread quests can get a bit frustrating at times, yes? But oh, when it all comes together! There doesn't seem to be a better high. :)

btw if you have molasses, it's a good subtitute for malt syrup too. A slightly stronger flavour than the malt or brown sugar. I like it, myself.

Carol

jerryf01's picture
jerryf01

Carol, molasses here are about 3 Xs stronger than stateside, and I haven't found the just right portion. For me the Moscavaldo sugar provides a nice taste.

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

Jerry,

Like Carol said..."Hang in there!"  I just read your info, and I did not know that you are located way out there!!!  I am sure you will narrow down the problem.  Keep us posted on how you are doing.

jerryf01's picture
jerryf01

Most expats consider this to be paradise, lol worth any costs.

But if I want good bread, I gotta do it! 

jerryf01's picture
jerryf01

After doing the recipe again w/o the malt powder, and adding 1 ½ cups more flour, I finally got a decent dough. So either his cups are a lot bigger than my weighed cups, or his water is just plain off I don’t know. Heck maybe it’s just a bad recipe. If anyone else tries this recipe, I would sure like to know how it turns out for you.

     I sure can't win em all, but tomorrow is a new day.