The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

liquid temp and dough

yjbus's picture

liquid temp and dough

i was just curious how the temperature of liquid effects the formation of dough.

i just noticed that if i heated up my liquid then added it to my flour, it would create a much more sticker, softer dough compared to if i used the same exact amount of liquid, but cold and straight from the refrigerator.

should this be happening or am i doing something wrong?


yjbus's picture

nvm.  i realized that it wasn't the temperature of the liquid, but the fact that because it was warmer, it was dissolving the yeast more and this was causing

my sticky dough.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Not sure what dissolving means.   (How much and what kind of yeast is in the dough?)

Warmth with food & yeast gives yeast production and with that, one gets lots of waste products from the yeast.  That's the reason we use it.  This fermentation of the flour by the yeasts not only softens the dough but the resulting sticky is the breaking down or digesting of the dough by the yeasts.  As fermentation progresses so does the wetness of the dough.  Let it ferment long enough, one gets a sticky liquid mess. 

There is also the softening of the gluten (protein bonds) that for any particular flour has to do with temperature.  Cold doughs from the refrigerator are stiffer because they are cold.  Chilled dough feel less sticky.  Warm up that dough, and it feels wetter and stickier and can absorb more flour.   A rye dough will generally be stiffer than a wheat dough when cold.  Cold dough will trick finger poking tests and resist absorbing flour, warmer flours and liquids will mix faster because they can stretch and combine easier.   

Forgetting salt will also make a sticky dough because salt tightens protein bonds.   So if salt is added 30 minutes after mixing liquids with flour, the stickiness will change.  For beginner home bakers this can create problems when the moistness of the dough is corrected before adding the salt resulting in too stiff or dry a dough.  So if you are a beginner, better to include the salt with the warm liquids or initial flour until you've trained your hands what the dough should feel like.  

Maintaining consistent temperatures helps with consistent results.  Temperature can be used as a tool to delay yeast fermentation or speed it up. 

tomdrum's picture

although I would add that if you use really hot water your dough will come together real quick. The reason for this is that the heat in the water will gelatinse the starches in the flour. If you do do this though you need to be careful to protect the yeast from the initial shock of the hot water. I wouldn't recomend it as a way of baking bread to be honest, but it does make for an interesting little experiment.