The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sticky dough

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boule's picture

I need help with sticky dough

March 23, 2010 - 12:42pm -- boule
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I've been making the Light Polish Rye from Leader's book for quite a while. When baking one loaf, handling the dough is no issue as you can just scrape it from the bowl and dump it on the counter. Recently I made six times the recipe. Below is a photo of four breads made with this mix. Two are double the recipe size, which is quite big as you can see from the wine bottle.


Breads

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

I set out to make what has become my standard 25% wholewheat rustic Italian loaf (blogged here) and discovered, well into weighing and mixing the dough, that I had run out of white flour. I had only 150 gm and the recipe called for 300 gm. But I did have plenty of wholewheat. And it was too late to stop and go get more. So I just made up the missing mass with wholewheat flour. Nothing ventured ...


The final formula was thus about 350 gm of biga at 75%, 150 gm white flour, 25 gm whole rye flour and 350 gm wholewheat flour, at a final hydration of 62.5%. So it was effectively about 40% wholewheat.


I generally knead this bread for about 6 minutes, and started doing so, and it came together just fine despite the extra wholewheat. But about 4 minutes into the kneading, the dough suddenly became quite sticky again. I don't remember that ever happening before, so I wondered, is that something that happens with high percentages of wholewheat?


Anyway, I allowed the dough to rise at room temperature for three hours then put it into the fridge overnight. Next morning I shaped a boule and put that back into the fridge for 8 hours. I brought it out while the oven was heating and baked at 220 degrees C for 10 minutes with a pan of water, then removed the water and baked for another 30 minutes at 200.


It came out far better than I expected.



I tried for the fan shaped cuts I've seen elsewhere, and they worked out well except that I think the loaf was probably underproofed, given the explosion.



The crumb was light and open and soft, and the crust not too thick, and good and chewy.



You can see that the crumb is denser near the top crust (bottom as the loaf proved) which along with the explosive opening of the crust makes me think it either needed to warm up more before going in the oven or else was just underproofed.


Anyway, overall I was very pleased and may now consider making loaves with a higher percentage of wholewheat in future.


Jeremy

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

I thought I would introduce myself here, having been lurking, occasionally commenting and learning more than I thought was possible. (Most notably, sourdough pancakes. Wow!)


I've been baking bread almost since I can remember -- my mother used to make an amazingly sloppy wholemeal loaf that received no kneading and generally ended up brick like; I forget what it was called. Most of my baking was based on Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery and Bernard Clayton Jr's The Complete Book of Breads (with a hatred for volume measures every time I used it).


Sourdough called to me about 20 years ago, maybe less, when the food writer of the Independent newspaper, Jeremy Round, published a sourdough recipe that contained a mistake. Several people wrote to complain and the paper published a correction. I thought, if it is that important, I ought to try it. And I did. Round, who is tragically under-represented on the internet, died in 1991, and he was still alive when I made my sourdough, so it is at least 19 years old. The same one. We've been through some ups and downs, my sourdough and me, including a relocation from Somerset, England to Rome in Italy.


Round's approach was very simple. You made a starter, made some bread with it (as I recall 18 oz flour to 12 oz water) removing 8 oz of the dough after the first rise and kept it in the fridge to use as next time's starter. No feeding in between. And that suited me fine until this past summer, when my dough became horribly, horribly sticky.


That's when I came here first, and discovered that the problem was almost certainly a combination of too high a temperature, too weak a flour and too long a fermentation.


Since then I've gradually worked on each of the variables, feeding the starter, working with percentages, and am now once again making reasonable bread.


A recent sourdough loaf


But the dough is still impossibly sticky, even at 60%. I've read about stretch and fold, and French folds, and watched the videos, but I still cannot handle the dough without it sticking to my hands, the steel work surface, everything. I've got a batch rising now, but I really think this is going to be the last time I try to do without kneading, and enough flour to stop things sticking. I cannot believe that people go out to 65% and 70% dough. Mine wouold be a sticky, structureless, freeform mess.


Is there any way I can manage this sticky dough?


At the moment I stretch it and fold it with the help of a scraper, but it is impossible to shape and I end up just plopping it into tins to prove. I shudder what to think would happen if I tried a loaf in a banneton.


I already have a blog, where my I chronicle my baking;, and I see no point in duplicating all that here. So my second question is:


Is it acceptable to just post links here to my personal blog?


Thanks for listening.


Jeremy

plnelson's picture

Sticky Newbie

February 13, 2009 - 6:54pm -- plnelson
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I'm a beginner at breadmaking and I like to eat hearty whole grain and multigrain breads.   When I try to make my own they come out hard and dense.  


Today I tried a new recipe -  the "Loaf for Learning" from the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.   It actually came out better than any other attempt I've made so far!  So that's the good news.   

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