The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New baker..more water next time???

sourLou's picture

New baker..more water next time???

Hi..I recently started baking bread, this morning started my third batch, and since I'm too impatient to see how it bakes up I thought I'd ask a question here.  I thought my first two batches came out great, but the dough was really sticky when working with it.  First I used Floyd's When Yeast Attacks recipe, thanks Floyd, and the second time I used the white sourdough recipe from Northwest Sourdough. 

This time I used 4cups AP flour, 1cup starter,9oz water, 1tablespoon salt.  Just looking at that does anyone think I should have used more water?  The dough seemed tough.  I try to maintain my starter with equal weights flour/water.

The proof is in the pudding...since I liked the way the loaves came out, does it matter that the dough was very sticky? I guess not, but in the few videos I have seen on the internet the dough looked very different from what I've been working with.  Sometimes I felt like I was leaving half my dough stuck to my work surface.

I know it would be wiser to work with one recipe till I get the techniques down, this has been the first time I ever baked bread, maybe I'll try that for a while.  :)

Thanks and thanks for all the great info here!!!

Thegreenbaker's picture

Do you use white, unbleached or wholewheat flour?


I find that my dough is sticky when I use wholewheat.

I think that when the hidraton is higher then the bread turns out nicer. In my experience....which is limited but full of stuff ups......I have realised you need good flour (good gluten content) and a wetter dough. My wholewheat dough stick tot he surface when I knead also. The way I work them is by making then really wet and then using lots of flour to knead with, so the end product is still quite hydrated as I have found I use more four to knead with and the dough tended to be alot tougher and dryer.

 practice and getting used to the dough and how it feels is the best way.............well in MY opinion. I could be completely wrong!


So hoiw did the dryer dough turn out? 


sourLou's picture

I have been using KA unbleached AP white flour.  That dry dough was really tough to work with after I let it proof.  I made a batard, kind of, and a round loaf.  They both semi blew up in the oven and the round one was very heavy.  They had a nice sourdough taste but were very dense.  Made for good toast and good with bruschetta.

Yeh practice, practice, practice...It is funny that the first batch I made, I'm up to number 4 now, came out the best looking and tasting.  Now that I think of it, that first batch was probably the wettest. Hmmmmm...

I baked again the next day, more water, and that batch came out lighter and was def easier to work with.  A question I do have, can you over knead?  I watched a video, I think many on here have seen it, the one with Julia Childs and Danielle Forestier.  I followed her technique and when I formed the loaves they would quickly become stubborn even after if I let them sit for five or ten minutes between attempts to form.