The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Forming loaves with wet dough

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tom1am's picture
tom1am

Forming loaves with wet dough

Hi to all. I am new to the site. I am not a novice baker but I have not been able to get large holes in my crumb.  From reading the info on this site, I need to have a wetter dough.  I have tried wet doughs but could never  handle them to the point where I could form loaves. I usually wound up with a sticky mess and even messier fingers.  All help is appreciated.  Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Caltrain's picture
Caltrain

Try using wet hands; wet dough won't stick to wet hands (or tools, for that matter). Just keep dipping your hands into water whenever things are starting to get sticky.


Alternatively you can grease your surface and your hands with vegetable oil, or just flour your surface a bit more.


Oh yeah, one last thing. One newbie mistake I used to make was stretching the dough too much, to the point of snapping the gluten strands. Not only did this destroy surface tension, it also quickly degenerated the loaf into, yes, a sticky mess. If it feels like the dough is about to rip apart, I stop and let it rest for a couple minutes before continuing.

tom1am's picture
tom1am

Thanks for the info.  I will do it this weekend.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I avoid using wet hands with sticky dough because increasing the hydration by handling it with wet hands tends, in my experience, to exacerbate the situation.  Hands well oiled (I prefer to use Olive oil  -  it's heavier than most vegatable oils) work pretty well.  Alternatively, dusting the dough mass with flour and generously flouring the hands and keeping a supply of flour close by to renew the coating on the hands also works well.  If your stretching the dough into an elongated rectangle, try to avoid stretching it to more than twice its original length and pull half the distance from one end, half from the other, before folding.  You can, of course, use sanitized disposable kitchen gloves so that the minor amounts of dough that you never seem to be able to remove from the fingers can be tossed in the trash with the disposable gloves.


After a few sessions of deflating the dough and/or restretching it you should find that it behaves better and it shouldn't be quite as sticky as it might be after the initial kneading.  If you want to shape your loaves into something more refined than a typical Ciabatta form you may have to resort to using a pan or mould that contains the slack dough while proofing and baking.

tom1am's picture
tom1am

Very good xuggestions.  I will try them all

KenK's picture
KenK

I have found the videos from The Back Home Bakery to be very helpful, and entertaining to watch.  Turn the volume up, some of them have good music.  The owner, Mark, posts here.


http://thebackhomebakery.com/Tutorials.html