The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My Dough Has TUMORS!!!!!!

b166er's picture

My Dough Has TUMORS!!!!!!

So, doing a lot of Tartine Country variations.

- All 70-75% hydro.

- All 90% white, 10% whole wheat.

Tried hand mixing; thought it was the issue. Moved to the machine, no change.

- I scrape the bottom of the bowl half way through the first mix

- Always autolyse for 30-40 minutes.

- I scrape the bottom of the bowl half way through the post autolyse mix.

Despite these measures, it seems that I have some unmixed flour in the dough. Little lumps are produced that never seem to go away. Very annoying. Not sure it really causes horrible issues, but it has to caused some texture issues.

What gives!!



thihal123's picture

Could this be due to the way you incorporate water into the flour mixture? I don't tend to just pour the entire batch of water into the flour mixture. I tend to do it a little at a time at first and then finally pouring the rest in.

odinraider's picture

 I tend to squeeze the dough through my fingers while mixing in order to remove any of those. Also, you can frissage the dough against the counter, much like you would a pastry dough.  I usually do that to breads with less hydration, though.


Crider's picture

And I second odinraider's suggestion about using the frissage technique to eliminate lumps.

PeterS's picture

from the autolyse and add it to your preferment when you mix it in. I am not familiar with the details of the Tartine bread, but if you can get some extra water into your preferment, assuming you are using one, it will soften and dilute it helping to disperse it. If your preferment is going into your autolyse, do the same thing only use all the water to soften the preferment first. Put the preferment into the mixer bowl, then add the other dry ingredients.

b166er's picture

Its 400g of 100% Levain. I add all the water to it and stir, then add all the flour. With it so wet, the machine tends to leave half of the dough on the bottom of the bowl and I think its barely getting touched. I scrape the sides and bottom and flip a few times to ensure all the dough gets mixed but I think by then, its too late.

I think I will try hand mixing again and just get a little rougher with it. Maybe another hand squeeze after the autolyse and finish in the machine.

Thanks everyone.

wally's picture

Are you adding the water/levain mixture to your mixer first, and then adding the flour on top?  If so, you shouldn't be getting dry flour clumps in the bottom of your mixer, especially with a high hydration dough.

Also, autolyse is done after the ingredients are well incorporated, so again, if there are clumps of flour remaining, the initial mix should be allowed to proceed until they are mixed well.  Then autolyse.

Hope that helps.


Red5's picture

Are you using a bread machine or mixer? If it's a mixer, how big?

What weight flour and water are you using in addition to the 400g of levain?

b166er's picture

Correction. Its 200g of lavain and the machine is a typical kitchenaid stand mixer.

- 200g levain, mixed with (80 degree) 700g water

- add 1000g flour mixture mix on low for 30 seconds. Stop, flip and scrape and another 30 seconds on low.

- rest for 40 minutes

- add 20g salt and another 50g water (sometimes I omit the extra water.)

- low for a full minute. Stop, flip and scrape

- second speed for 2 to 3 minutes


I'm not sure if its the hook and bowl combo in this unit but unless the dough is much stiffer, it never really balls up in a single mass. Half (or more) of the mix is at the bottom, barely being touched. Is this a common issue with these mixers and high hydration mixes? Maybe I should hand mix initially, autolyss, then mix in the machine?

Red5's picture


Red5's picture

what brand of flours are you using?

From what I'm reading it seems you are just undermixing the dough. I've done that Tartine recipe by hand many times and it usually only takes me a few minutes for the dough to come together in a rough ball for autolyse, and then maybe 5 minutes of hand mixing after adding the salt before it becomes the smooth ball that I'll turn for the next two hours. 


If you have the 4.5 quart bowl on a Kitchen-Aid, the amount of time you have listed for mixing just isn't enough, don't time it next time, just add the ingredients and then leave the mixer on 2 until you get to the clean-up stage...bump it up to 3 if it sounds like the machine is slowing down before it's made it to the clean-up. 

b166er's picture

I assume "clean up stage" means that the dough has pulled from the bottom and is one mass? Even on a 75% hydro dough? Wow..... If so, and thats the issue, I would wager that this has been some of my problems for many of my doughs.

Typically, I am using King Author bread and whole wheat flours. For no reason other than thats the only bread flour at my local Whole Foods and my local non Whole Foods stores have just as poor a selection. I'm thinking of trying to find a semi local mill somewhere. I live in Kansas. How hard can it be? I'm going through 25 pounds a month easily.

Thanks Red5