The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Too little or too much water

WishfulSpirit777's picture

Too little or too much water

Hi everyone 

Recently I have been having an odd problem. I follow reliable recipes when making bread or use baker's percentages (60 percent hydration usually), and recently my doughs have been either too moist or too dry. I have enough experience to know what a good pizza or bread dough should "look like" and can usually correct it with a few tbsp of flour or water, but why is this happening to me? Here are some relevant factors:

I live in a dry, semi-desert climate at 5000 ft elevation

The AC is almost always on, because Hubby has nerve pain issues that heat makes a lot worse

I haven't been doing as much baking during the summer months as I usually do during the colder seasons

The pantry in our apartment seems to be warmer than in our former residence 

I do weigh my flour, which makes the "too moist, too dry" less of a problem than if I go by volume, but the problem still exists


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss


Did you get a new batch of flour recently?

If so, it could be milled in a way that damaged the starch granules. Dough with starch-damaged flour behaves very oddly -

taking a lot of water at first (seeming too dry), and then during the proof getting all wet and sticky.


wally's picture

Type of flour, how old the flour is ( or how long it's beenI opened), relative humidity inside your home.  All these will affect the amount of hydration you need.  Even bakers have to constantlyadjust hydration to account for these things.  If it's only a matter of having to add or subtract a small amount of liquid I wouldn't be concerned.  It's probably not you or the recipe.