The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tartine Country Bread - Dough too sticky

BazF's picture

Tartine Country Bread - Dough too sticky


Despite numerous attempts carefully following the instructions in the book, Tartine Bread I cannot get my dough at the end of bulk fermentation stage to be manageable and more particulary as developed as that in the photographs in the book or the Chad Masterclass with Claus Meyer.

Chad makes the dough look so manageable in the video. My dough is impossibly sticky and there is no way I canshape and  knit the dough as he does.  The top surface of the dough appears very wet and simply does not appear as well hydrated.

Does anyone elase have this problem and if not any ideas how I can sort it and move on - I love the bread from Tartine but it's a long way from Bath, UK to San Francisco for a daily loaf.


Baz F

carblicious's picture

Hi Baz,

The high hydration dough can be quite sticky, and many of us have had issues.  Have you read Tom's introduction: ?  Lots of discussion as well as steps to build up to the Tartine recipe, if you're new to high hydration doughs.

And here's this recent thread on the same topic:

Good luck,


Red5's picture

I would guess it has more to do with the flour you are using.  

What have you been mixing with?





fermented's picture

I followed the Tartine book to make bread nearly every weekend since receiving it as a gift in Feburary of this year; it wasn't until this past weekend that I was really succesful. I used to follow Chad's instructions to the letter but have since adjusted almost everything. I definitely know what you mean by the dough being too sticky. I have somewhat overcome this by adjusting the amount of water +/- about 50g based on the humidity of the day.

I also use leaven when it seems to reach its peak rise level, about 4 to 6 hours; but this greatly depends on room temperature and starter strength.

I also S&F until the dough feels right regardless of time. I did give up on one batch however, after about 10 hours of S&F; given my usual time is 2 to 3 hours.

When it comes to shaping the loaves the best technique I have found is too flour the counter surface liberally and after pouring out the dough and cutting it, fold the non-floured side into the loaf so the floured side that was against the counter becomes the entire outside of the loaf. This makes handling it much easier. 

One other thing I changed which seems to have brought it all together, was my bulk fermentation time. I kept checking the loaves until they seemed to have increased in size by about 20% and then baked them; they were perfect! My loaves would normally collapse and were near impossible to handle when transferring from the bowls to the combo cooker. But with the short fermentation time they held their shape beautifully.

Hopefully this all makes sense and helps with your issue; good luck!