The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Problem: Dough is resistant to stretching

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BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

Problem: Dough is resistant to stretching

A few months back I posted a problem here explaining that my dough is not elastic and resist stretching while hand kneading.

I normally mix all the ingredients in a mixer with a dough hook at low speed only until dough is pulled away from edges. When I dump the mix on the workspace, there are plenty  of dried crumbs; so I don't think I am over mixing.

As soon as I start to knead by hand, the dough becomes resistant to stretching.

Someone mentioned to let it rest for a few minutes and that should fix the issue. I let the dough rest and it does fix the issue, but only temporary.

 As soon as I start kneading, the dough becomes less elastic again. Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong? Am I kneading wrong?

BTW:  Question about the Windowpane test, is this done after initial mixing of dough or after 1st rise? When I attempt to do the windowpane test to determine if the I kneaded enough and have built up gluten, the dough normally just tears. Perhaps this is the reason that I have almost no oven spring....?

Using KA flour

Ford's picture
Ford

"When I dump the mix on the workspace, there are plenty  of dried crumbs; so I don't think I am over mixing."

It sounds to me as though you may not be using enough liquid.   Try increasing the hydration.  Are you weighing your ingredients?  The flour should be sifted and spooned into the  dry-measure cup, then leveled with a straight edge blade, if you are measuring by volume.  (1 cup weighs 4 1/4 oz.)   KA flour is my choice: AP, bread, and whole wheat flours.

The window pane test determines whether you have developed the gluten, so it is a test for sufficient kneading.

Ford

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

I've been measuring by using dry measuring cups for the flour (then leveled with a straight edge) and using a liquid measuring cup for the liquids.

I am following various recipes that are mostly found on this website here.

Ford's picture
Ford

"I've been measuring by using dry measuring cups for the flour (then leveled with a straight edge)"

Are you scooping the flour out of the bag (container) with the measuring cup or are you sifting it into the cup?  In the first case the flour could weigh as much as 5 oz. per cup in the second case it will weigh about 4 1/4 oz/cup.

Ford

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

You were spot on with the weight of my cups. I packed a dry measuring cup like I normally do and weighed it. It was almost 5.25 oz.

I am now making a loaf after measuring correctly. I must say that the dough, although currently on first rise, is beautiful.

Ford's picture
Ford

Thank you for the confirmation.  Now, let us see a picture of your loaf.

You will probably find that the slacker dough is hard to handle, but with practice you will master it.  Go lightly withthe dusting flour and you will be rewarded!

Ford

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

I have been using the measuring cup to scoop out and I never used a sifter. Personally, I do not see the logic in using a sifter, but I definatly will weigh out the flour on my next loaf and see if there is a change. Thanks.

jaywillie's picture
jaywillie

If you have the ability to weigh your ingredients, do so. I agree with the other posters that what is happening is you are making your dough too stiff -- too much flour and not enough liquid -- and that's why it's not compliant to your kneading. If you've got a really stiff dough, no amount of resting is going to make it relax.

And you're right to be a bit skeptical about using a sifter before you measure. It just might introduce too much air into the flour, and therefore your cups will be *too light* and you'll go too far in the opposite direction, ending up with a very slack dough (high hydration). In their workshops, King Arthur suggests "fluffing" (my word) the flour in the bag or a separate bowl or container, then scooping the fluffed flour using a scoop or large spoon and sort of shaking it into the measuring cup. Finish by leveling it with a knife or straightedge (I use a chopstick), not by packing it down in any way. What you want to avoid is anything that packs the flour too densely into your measuring cup.

But to repeat -- weighing takes all these variables out of the equation, so weigh if you can.

Ford's picture
Ford

The sifter fluffs the flour so that you measure it as was intended.  It will also remove lumps, weavils, and larvae, if present.  But the first reason is the important one, because, of course, you have no reason for the second one.

Ford

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

I always thought the weavils and larvae added protein and texture. LOL. Thanks for the help. I will do some sifting next time.

Ford's picture
Ford

Nah!  Go for the added protein, :-}

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Besides weighing so it starts out right, also watch out for "kneading in" so much flour that you wind up changing the hydration level significantly by the time you're done. It's pretty easy to goof fairly badly if you flour your work surface and your hands really liberally, then also keep pouring more and more flour onto them as time goes on. Instead, use just barely enough flour to not stick badly  ...or experiment with using salad oil instead (you can put it in one of those refillable "olive oil misters").

(Also, depending on what style of bread you're making, it may work just as well to "autolyse" then "stretch and fold" [S&F] every so often, and not knead at all:-)

breadbakin fool's picture
breadbakin fool

 I live in Phoenix, and I can tell you here in the desert I have often found that you need to add more water than recipes call for, so your hydration levels may well be the problem.  Definitely try weighing ingredients, that will help.  But you may find that you still need to add a little more water to certain recipes.  At least that's been my experience. 

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

Wish I knew someone like you so my wife and I can work on our new baking hobby with someone who has experience.

cholla's picture
cholla

I live in Phoenix and would love to get together with someone about baking bread. I have been baking with sourdough about three years now, have built an earth oven in the backyard and make all of our familys bread, my daughter sometimes asks me "Dad, can we have some store bought bread?" as some kids in school give her a hard time about the sandwiches, most others just want some homemade bread.

 

John 602-568-5711

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

I would love to get together, but I am in Tucson.  :(

breadbakin fool's picture
breadbakin fool

I'm in Phoenix also, and would love to get together sometime. I also have been experimenting with sourdoughs and I built a brick oven in my back yard, so we have a lot in common. Maybe we could have a big earth/brick oven bread and pizza get together. That way I wouldn't have to be the only one making dough and pizzas! Plus it's cool enough now to be outside. Let's make it happen!

Terry

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

Read my responce, my last post. I am in Tucson, not Phoenix.

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

Maybe you can find someone local to you to serve as a mentor.  Write a note to this website telling us where you live and what you're looking for.

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

You say write a note, where?

breadbakin fool's picture
breadbakin fool

Actually, that's the beauty of this website.  You ask a question, and you get a bunch of answers from some pretty experiences bakers. That's why I joined!  I've learned a huge amount just by reading things here. 

  Terry

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

You posted a note that started this whole string of replies, some of which you replied to, right?  Now start another string which you could entitle "I'm looking for a local experienced baker to mentor me."  In the body of the note, write where you live and something about what you're looking to learn.  Then add that note to the website, just the way you did the first note you wrote.  Watch for replies.