The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

slack dough

hmcinorganic's picture

slack dough

I have started working with more hydrated doughs.  I am working off the Bread Bakers Apprentice by Reinhart, french bread recipe.  I am using the high end of liquid, and the stretch and fold technique.  My dough is doing its first rise right now, but it is not holding its shape.  It is really spreading out all over the place and I can't imagine it will hold together when I form it into loaves;  I can't get surface tension on the dough.  Maybe it will improve after the first rise?  This is the 2nd wettest (after an attempt at ciabatta 2 weeks ago) dough I've worked with, and while I can tell gluten is forming, I can't get it to hold any shape like I can with a drier (less wet?) dough.

I am doing crazy stuff with the bread;  my schedule is crazy so I'm retarding it in the fridge, letting it develop overnight, and then warming it up for the rise.  I hope to bake it tonight, but I may have to let it sit longer.... this dough may end up being a huge pate fermente for more loaves at the rate I'm going.  

I picked a bad day to start this bread so I am going to try to salvage it :)

tgrayson's picture

I've been doing the same thing, and I've found that it rises quite nicely in the oven.  I've been proofing them in a couche, but they still get somewhat flat when I transfer them to the peel.  Still, they puff well in the oven.

bnom's picture

It really helps to shape the dough when it's still chilled from refridgeration. 

BTW, I just made the wettest dough ever...I added 100 grams of teff to my regular formula (70% hydration) and it practically turned it into soup.  Working with the cold dough I was able to form it into a, not too pretty, baguette but it flattened out in the oven.  I ended up practically pouring the remained of the dough into a pre-heated dodutch oven. That worked well. 


hmcinorganic's picture

well, I don't know the % hydration of my dough, but it was wet, and I had trouble shaping it and moving it around.  It didn't spring back, but it doesn't look like easily stretchable play-dough like I see in videos on this site.  Anyway, I shaped them into something between batards and baguettes and they look and taste great.  open crumb.... some big bubbles.  I am getting better.  :)

mypeegu's picture

Hi, I've just started baking a couple of months back and I had great tips from this fabulous website.  I have a few concerns wrt wet dough.  

I'm living in Singapore which has an average ambient temperature of 28-30+ deg Cel. Humidity levels hover anything from 95% - 99%. So it's hot and humid all the time over here.

I find that following recipes esp wrt amt of water to add generally gets me really flat flat bread and the insides of the baked bread is quite rubbery and heavy and wet.  So when I adjusted, I find a comfortable wet-tish dough at about 60% hydration which I can somewhat still knead and shape. Then my baked breads turn out with beautifully soft fluffy insides, well-distributed holes and thin crispy crust. Crackling is more often the norm than not. 

So I'm wondering whether I have to compensate for a decrease amount of water all the time? Does humidity level really have that much impact on the state of the dough? Or does everyone handle the same slack wet dough but can get much better outcome than me? The wet rubbery dense inside is really not too nice to eat and smells very strongly of yeast. This doesn't happen when I make dough at 60% hydration.