The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Working wet dough

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sadears's picture
sadears

Working wet dough

I have some dough sitting waiting for me to knead it.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but in order to get big holes, or at least bigger than I have been getting, the dough needs to be wet.  I have this issue every time.  It's really sticky.  How do I knead it without having sticky fingers?  EVERY time, it starts out wet, but I end up adding flour to stop it from sticking.  The bread turns out good....I've been posting pics, but I don't get big holes.  I've read about folding after the rise, but what about the initial knead?  Jim wrote to let the dough rest after mixing, before kneading.  Mine has been resting for an hour.  Hopefully, someone will respond soon.  If not, I'll use what I learn next time. ;-D

 

Steph 

gt's picture
gt

I started getting nice holes in my bread when I stopped kneading. After an initial 1 or 2 minutes of mixing, don't knead it at all just fold it every 45 minutes or so.

 

sadears's picture
sadears

Are you working with wet dough?  I thought of just folding, but didn't want to ruin yet another loaf that ended up in the trash (I used Jim's recipe for basic bread that makes two loaves).

 

You said you do it every 45 minutes.  For how long?

 

I learned recently (from my sister's book on high altitude baking) that I need to have three rises:  initial, a second, then a third after the loaves are shaped.

 

Do you have more than two rises (initial, after shaping)?  I'm guessing that what you said is before the first rise.  Still, how many times to you fold?

 

And, last but not least, do you use the technique I found on this website?   Fold it like a letter?  If not, how do you fold it?

 

gt, your pics look great.  Exactly how I want mine to look.

 

Steph

Wayne's picture
Wayne

Hi Steph:

 Working with wet dough is a learning experience in how to handle it.  It is very wet and will of course stick to your fingers and hands if you are hand kneading.  I flour my kneading area very little when kneading the dough.  You only need to hand mix it for a few minutes.  Then, flour a large bowl and shape your wet dough as best you can into a boule shape and drop it in the bowl,  Cover and let rise  45 min to an hour and flour your counter with flour (good quantity) scrape your dough (gently) out of the and stretch it out as long as you can without tearing and fold it letter style (this is the first turn).  Place it back in the bowl smooth side down and let it rise for an additional 45 min or so and repeat above.  You may have to make as many as 5 turns before the dough is ready to form.  The dough will get more springy as you progress.  Let it rest after the final turn for another 45 minutes or so then shaple your loaves as usual.  Hope this helps.  King Arthur Flour has a very informative DVD that shows this process very well.  Hope this helps.

Wayne

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

I just made my first two loaves of sour dough yesterday and was somewhat disapointed in the tight crumb and weight of the bread. The flavor is good but I think I could probably use them for door stops. My dough wasn't nearly wet enough I think and we waaaayyyy over kneaded it 10-15 minutes per the recipe. *Sigh*. I will try again next week-end. In the meantime I did a google search and found this great site that has some short bread making videos intorduced by Julia C. Here's the link:

http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/meet/silverton.html

gt's picture
gt

Hi Steph,

 

Yes, I fold letter style as Wayne explained above except I just leave mine on a board covered with plastic between folds. I also don't use any extra flour, just a metal scraper to loosen the sides, top, and bottom as they are folded.

 

The bread above was sourdough at 70% hydration and I folded it 4 or 5 times during a 5 hour fermentation then I shaped it and baked after 2 more hours.

 

I would like to see the DVD Wayne mentions above.

 

Gary 

 

sadears's picture
sadears

Okay, so is there a trick to keep it from sticking to my fingers?  Thats the worst part.  Just touching it gets so icky.  The more fingers involved, the more dough sticks.  Or do you just fold it and wash off whatever has stuck to your hands?

gt's picture
gt

Actually I wet my hands a little when I fold and not much sticks. Otherwise, wet dough is going to be sticky but it gets less sticky as you fold it.

 

Gary

sadears's picture
sadears

Gary,

Okay.  I'll try folding with wet fingers and see how that goes.  It's going on 6 p.m. mountain time so I'm guessing I won't be baking until tomorrow.  No matter.  I'll keep you posted.  I have high hopes for these loves ;-D

 

BTW:  Do you dump the dough back in the bowl after you fold?  It's sitting on the cutting board.  I can't figure out how to get the glob back in the bowl :-D

Steph

gt's picture
gt

Steph,

 

I don't put it back in the bowl, I just leave it on the board and cover with a piece of plastic.  I use to put it back in the bowl and that doesn't hurt anything but I find leaving on the board is just simpler.

 

Good luck - Gary 

sadears's picture
sadears

Since I am in the midst of baking I took a shot in the dark.  I left it on the board.  After the first fold it was creeping over the edges. And I kept having to scoop it back.  The last two times (the third fold is resting) I put it back in the bowl.  Had to cut the mass in two to get it in there.  For two loaves, Jim's recipe gives you a lot of dough.

 

We'll see.

Wayne's picture
Wayne

Steph:

You can do as Gary does, but as you know you have a problem as long as the dough is still very wet in that it likes to settle out somewhere, normally off the board if it isn't big enough.  That's why I use the real big bowl I have.  As for sticky fingers and hands, that just goes along with using slack dough.  After you dump it in the bowl or on a board as Gary suggests, just scrape off the dough on your hands and fingers onto the dough with a plastic bowl scraper or such. 

Gary,

The DVD from KA is called "Artisan Breads"  and features Micheal Jubinsky  I think I paid something like $19.95 about a year or so ago.  I am pretty sure they still sell it from their web site or catalog.

Wayne

sadears's picture
sadears

I'm still dealing with my dough from yesterday.  It's really wet.

This cannot be good.

Wayne's picture
Wayne

Steph:

 Your dough is way too wet for handling by hand..............add some more flour until it sorta looks like lava flowing out of your mixing bowl..........still very wet, but dry enough to handle.  Put it on your board and act like you are shaping it into a boule, give it a quarter turn and repeat.  After a few minutes the "top" of your boule shape will begin to be shaped.  Just make sure you do not add any more flour while your are doing this....it will be very temping to add more flour so the dough is more manageable, this is exactly what you do not want to do.  If you add more flour at this point you are destroying the big holes you are trying to achieve.  Transfer the kneaded dough into a bowl and let it rest for 45 min or so.  Think you should use a bowl until you are accustomed to handling wet dough like this.  Through some flour on top of the rested dough (sprinkle on top and along the sides.)  Sprinkle some flour on your kneading board, enough to keep the wet dough from sticking, and use a plastic dough scraper around the sides of the bowl, scraping down and under the dough ball and it should fall out onto your board.  Then,  make your first turn and place the envelope , smoth side down, back into your bowl.  Repeat, making as many turns as you need to get the dough envelope firmer and springier.  Good luck.  Don't give up !

Wayne

sadears's picture
sadears

I folded it several times as best I could.  After it rose twice, today I put (poured) it into small bread tins I have.  They should be cooled in about an hour.  I'll post pics after I cut one of them open.

 

This altitude sucks for baking.  65% hydration is too little, 75% is obviously too much.  I'll try 70% next time.  I'll just pour in 65%, then add a couple tablespoons at a time until I get the consistancy I want.

 

Steph

gt's picture
gt

Yep Steph I think your dough is quite wet.  Do you know the hydration or how much flour and water you used? Gary

 

sadears's picture
sadears

Gary,

 

1000g flour, tad over 750g water.  Just over 75% hydration.  Need more water or less water than most because of altitude.

 

Steph