The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Too chewy ciabatta caused by wet doughs?

jefklak's picture

Too chewy ciabatta caused by wet doughs?

Hi there,

Yesterday I baked Mr. Hamelman's Ciabatta with poolish (and added sourdough starter). It turned out to be fine - nice crumb but only one problem: too chewy!


It was so chewy your teeth hurt a little bit if you tore off a piece. And I've been making high hydratation baguettes with the same flour with the same result: too chewy! So I wondered whether this is "usual" for very wet doughs, or I did something wrong? 

I suspect 2 things might be the (partial) cause:

  1. flour - it's "general purpose" flour (also "suiteable for pastry"), no protein content listed - It's difficult to get good "bread flour" here.
  2. underkneading - I used a lot of stretch & folds and french folding initially as I don't have a mixer and I did take on the challenge to knead it by hand. Of course this means I did not do this for a long time and I also did not bother with a windowpane test. Would this make a huge difference? Is it even possible to achieve something decent without a mixer with wet doughs?

Thanks for any input at all!

See more here:

Floydm's picture

Gummy chewy?  If so, I'd suggest baking it 5 or 10 minutes longer.  Wetter doughs often need more time for the moisture to evaporate, which makes sense when you think about it.


jefklak's picture

It's really difficult to describe, it's a challenge to tear off a piece without giving too much pressure, I guess you might call it gummy indeed. I already baked them 5-10 minutes longer than described and left them in the oven while turned off for a bit. I might need to turn down the oven temp. and increase the time again, thanks for the tip. I hope that will help a bit!