The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Increasing hydration, too late

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KenK's picture

Increasing hydration, too late

Is there any good (better) technique for getting a little more water in a dough after it has already come together?

I made rolls last night that had potato flakes and a lot of butter in them which I'm not used to using.  I kept thinking "maybe this is how it's supposed to be".  The dough came together but it was just about impossible to knead it was so dry.  I tried to get it a little wetter but it just wasn't working. 

They actually came out amazingly well considering.  I had to improvise a steamy proof box to get them to rise in spite of having a huge amount of yeast.

logdrum's picture

Two things I've tried:

*wet both of your hands & continue kneading (for just a bit more)

*dimple the dough w/ your fingertips & sprinkle water in the "wells", fold & continue kneading.

It's important to catch this early in the process to avoid overkneading.



fancypantalons's picture

logdrum, the odds of overkneading by hand are next to impossible, so I wouldn't worry about that.

Usually, I just put some water in the bowl I'm working in and then get in there with my hands and squeeze the dough between my fingers and fold it around.  The important thing is to increase the surface ares so that more of the dry dough comes into contact with the additional water.

Note, as you knead the dough, initially, it's gonna be sticky and messy.  Really sticky and messy.  And you'll find yourself suddenly worrying that you added too much water.  However, you'll be amazed how fast that water is absorbed by the dough as you work it, so only after a few minutes of solid kneading should you even consider adding a bit of flour to further adjust the hydration.

phxdog's picture

I made an error in converting a recipe from ounces to grams. I added exactly 1/2 the anmount of water that should have been in the recipe.

Once I discovered my mistake, I tore the (very stiff!) dough into little pieces, added the remaining water in the DLX, and continued to mix. After some persuading with the help of a spatula, in about 3 minutes the water was completely incorporated. The Double Knot Rolls turned out very soft and seemed no worse for wear.

I think I would have made a big mess trying to hand-kneed on a counter, but I'll bet it could be accomplished by hand in a large bowl.

Scott (Phxdog)

PaddyL's picture

I've done that and it works quite well.  When kneading anything into dough, you have to remember that it's going to get sticky and ropey before it comes together, but it will if you keep at it.