The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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DavidEF's picture

Why is my dough getting stickier while kneading?

I'm a little confused. Kneading has turned out to be one of the tougher things for me to figure out with bread baking. I always feel like I didn't do it right. One thing is that I don't really know what properly kneaded dough should feel like. I've read posts on here, and watched a few different youtube videos, and still can't figure it out. Everything I've seen indicates the dough should get less sticky and more pliable when it is properly kneaded. I can't seem to get that result. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. My dough does seem to be more extensible after a while of kneading, but it also becomes more sticky, and doesn't want to let go of my hands or my work surface. It sticks to everything like chewed gum.

I know there are several variables in bread making. I'll try to explain as much as I can about mine. I'm usually baking with my 100% hydration sourdough starter, but I've also recently baked a recipe using commercial yeast only, out of a book. I've used different flours, ranging from AP to Bread to Whole Wheat. Usually, it is a random mix of two or more of those. Sometimes I have my starter kept on top of my fridge, being fed twice a day, sometimes in the fridge being fed once a week or so. I'm very experimental with my food, if you can't tell. I've had some decent loaves, some great ones, and a couple of barely-edible-but-not-quite-a-brick loaves in the past few months that I've been baking. Sometimes I get great flavor, sometimes no discernible flavor, and exactly once the loaves turned out to be really sour. I don't know what I'm doing most of the time (really, like ever), but I haven't counted many of my attempts as disasters. I have learned a lot, but currently trying really hard to get the kneading down, and I'm stumped.

mike1977's picture

Cook's Essentials BM2005W Bread Machine

Does anyone else here have a Cook's Essentials BM2005W bread machine? Where can you order a spare pan and paddle?

Darwin's picture

New starter questions

Hi all,

I just started my first 2 cultures and they are looking good and smelling nice on day 3. (knock wood) Both are using AP white flour, how long should I wait to try and convert one over to Whole Wheat or other grain?  And just for extra confidence is there an easy recipe for beginner or should I just try one that looks good?

Thanks in advance.  ;)

AnnaInMD's picture

Atkins Diet

Ok, this is it and for the past 3 weeks I have been a faithful Atkins Dieter. It's coming off as described but I will have a few more weeks to go.

Alas, I will never ever be able to "devour" my creations and now only allow myself a very scant piece now and then.

My husband loves it though, so much more for him to enjoy. 

Holiday baking will really be a bummer :(

Today I said good-bye to my beautiful tomato plants on the deck. The squirrels discovered them and despite building an enclosure of chicken wire and other netting, they sit on the railing and just fish out what they can get. I got tired of shooshing them away and just running up the street to the closest veggie stand is less trouble.

Cheers from sunny and again very humid Southern Maryland.


letterboy1's picture

Greetings from Columbus, Georgia

I am new to bread baking but determined to eventually make a proper German "Farmer's Bread." Or as it is often called in Germany, "Bauernbrot." Actually, I love all kind of bread but it just so happens that Bauernbrot is the first challenge I chose to tackle. Wish me luck! As with all things worth doing, bread baking reveals itself as a very deep art and NOT as easy as it looks!

CAphyl's picture

Love my new Bordelaise bread cutter

I had a lot of trouble with using knives to score my bread, and I ordered the French bread cutter, Bordelaise, from Amazon.  It makes doing this so much easier. Love it!  Made a 9-grain boule today, and the markings looked good. My husband even remarked about it!  It was well worth it, as I think it only cost about $15.

ndechenne's picture

Retarding in the fridge

Ok, a question.


I've tried but hesitated refrigerator retarding, as I hear that it may be too cold? I keep a cold fridge (boy likes his milk nearly freezing). That said, it would be my belief that you could still "fridge retard" but that it may take a long time to develop the flavors (like a couple/few days, up to a week even?)

Second question (ok, I lied). Second, what's this business about going from fridge to oven directly? I tried it ... spring was ok but nothing too dramatic. What's the philosophy in fp in the fridge? Again... too cold to rise much? 

End of the day I seem to be looking for rise in a cold retard, yet maybe what I should be thinking about is flavor and let the fp do the rising for me? Problem I'm having though is that I'm overproofing as (in my mind) the loaves should be bigger than perhaps they want to be when coming out of the cold.

Can't get out of my own way on this one... thoughts?

clazar123's picture

Time to finalize holiday recipes?

I usually get to November and THEN realize I wanted to perfect this or that recipe so I could make it confidently for the Christmas holidays. MWilson's beautiful pannetone post reminded me of this.

So is it time to work on that biscotti? Butter cookie? Pannetone? Brioche? Stollen? or whatever? I also am reminded to order special supplies ( such as pannetone papers) and bake in boxes.

So what do you need to work on?

bread basket's picture
bread basket

How could we obtain flour (whole sale) as a group?

We are a small group of bakers which struggle to find flour (whole sale, as a group) at a decent price. we are selling at a farmers market in Brevard NC.

I realize, as a very small business one is really disadvantaged because of not being able to buy large amounts of ingredients. Buying wholesale from a online dealer always has high shipping costs which sets off the savings. Sharing does not seem possible because of tax issues or at least not recommended (according to my accountant). Are there any ideas of people who are in the same position as we are? As always thank you for your input.


poma's picture

History of US retail flour types?

This is more geeky than advanced, precisely...

I saw mention somewhere of "bread flour" becoming a category when bread machines showed up, and I think I've read that bread machines exploded onto the scene in the 1980s... So I was wondering what the categories were like before then -- and further back.

It's easy to imagine pastry flour being decidedly more difficult to find than it is today, and supermarkets just having plain flour and cake flour and boxed mixes and bisquick in the depths of the 1950s.

PS Pressed Preview, and got "EntityMalformedException" :(