The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sticky Dough Query

Sanchez's picture

Sticky Dough Query

I've been having a go at this business for a few months now, and I can cook up a fair few decent things. But, and I don't know why, the art of making a normal loaf of bread evades me. I'm talking about a loaf of bread made from bread flour, yeast, salt and water, nothing else. I give it all the due love and attention, and I always end up with a sticky dough. You can see where it has cooked normally closer to the edges, but in the middle, it's almost damp. Texture-wise, it's all right. There are large holes. Any advice someone can offer?

My oven is tempremental, which I assume can't help, but other than that, I presumed I was cooking it at either too high or too low a heat - or is it something else?

Ta in advance.

Floydm's picture

I'd assume you are taking the loaves out too early or that your oven isn't hot enough. Lean doughs like you are making should stay in the oven until they are 205-210F in the middle. Often times that means the exterior is quite dark, darker than what you are used to seeing on loaves in stores. It'll still taste fine. Try giving it an extra 5 or 10 minutes. If you are nervous about leaving it in so long, you can go ahead and turn the oven off for that final period. It'll continue to bake while the oven begins to cool.

If you want to take the subjectivity our of figuring out when it is done, for seven or so bucks you can pick up an instant-read thermometer. Having one helped me immensely.

Sanchez's picture

An instant read thermometer, you say? Consider it bought.

As for the advice on the colour of the loaf, thanks for that - I've been subconsciously trying to cook loaves like the ones you see in supermarkets. Never again. And my desire to rip the thing from the oven and eat it instantly doesn't help.


efmoya's picture

Take a look at my reply elsewhere in this forum:

The method I describe is very reliable for me.