The Fresh Loaf

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High hydration dough!

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Jmarten's picture
Jmarten

High hydration dough!

Can anyone please advise me on how to handle a high hydration dough without getting into a scary mess. I just can't get to grips with it, it goes everywhere and even begins picking up objects it comes in contact with. Please, please help I desperately want to attempt these gorgeous looking loaves that use this wet dough. I would be forever in your Dept!

ehymes's picture
ehymes

It is difficult to describe.  I did find a video of someone folding a ciabatta dough on utube at the following -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhjGxZyOzDg&feature=related

That is how we started working a "wet" dough at KAF but instead of putting it back in the bowl, we worked it for 5-10 minutes.  After a few minutes, that wet dough began to change and became easier to work and less sticky.  It was easier to work it with the dough scraper than with our hands.  Stretch and fold. 

In my opinion, lots of good examples on utube.

 

ed

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Slap and stretch kneading works extremely well with higher hydration doughs. It's actually very easy to learn, though dough will end up everywhere the first few times you try it. It's worth it to master and have in your techniques tool box!

http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough

- Keith

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

THANKS for that superb video link.  Solid gold to see the Hands of Masters at work (like Jeff Hammelman, but with bonus of formidable smirque francaise), esp. appearing to solve such a ubiquitous problem in such a fun way.  Stand back kitties, this dough's fixin to fly!  My fingers are crossed (but not oiled) that hi-hyd dough abused like this would be so thoroughly chastized as to dare not cling to brotforms  (my previous whine here).  Can't wait to find out.

Is it Friday yet? :-)

TdB

 

Jmarten's picture
Jmarten

Thank you.

HornoDeBarrow's picture
HornoDeBarrow

Another thing that may be helpful is to work the dough on a granite slab rather  than another surface. You can often aquire scrap from a granite fabricator at little or no cost if you do not have granite countertops.

Jmarten's picture
Jmarten

Thanks for the advice, that sounds like a good idea. Could I get possibly get a good result by just using 2 dough scrapers to fold the dough as opposed to getting in a terrible mess?

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Could I get possibly get a good result by just using 2 dough scrapers to fold the dough as opposed to getting in a terrible mess?

Probably yes. I use a dough scraper all the time for "rounding up" slack doughs, handling them, and even in a way "kneading" them. Dough scrapers are much less sticky than your hands  ...but they'll still pick up some dough. I find I have to thoroughly rinse off my dough scraper under cool water and use my other hand to help flush away the bits of stuck dough about every six strokes; the leftover water droplets help make it a little more "non-stick" for the next time (otherwise even the dough scraper wouldn't work very well).

You might also try using salad oil rather than flour for your work surface, your tools, and your hands. It's less likely to mess up the hydration level. And it seems to work at least almost as well (and maybe better:-). My guess is salad oil didn't used to be recommended because it was too difficult to measure small quantities and to spread evenly. But with one of those newfangled refillable "olive oil misters" it works just fine.

HornoDeBarrow's picture
HornoDeBarrow

I often use a couple drops of olive oil on my hands before working dough and find it works very well.