The Fresh Loaf

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Windowpane test and Sticky, wet dough

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VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

Windowpane test and Sticky, wet dough

This week's try at Laurel's Kitchen Basic whole Wheat turned out well...a little shy on oven spring, but I was using 9" instead of 8" loaf pans, oldish flour, and oldish yeast. But here's what continues to bother me...the complete wet sticky mess of the dough. It's all over my hands, all over the counter, even after flouring both. How do I strengthen the dough without drying it out with flour? I know for sure it would sag, not do a windowpane properly. Fingerpoke test is fine. It comes back VERY slowly. Any ideas? I can post pictures, if someone can tell me how. I keep getting "Upload failed" message.

Blessings,

Voni

isand66's picture
isand66

Forget about worrying about the Window Pane test.  If you are working on a wet sticky dough like I am right at this moment, here's what you do:

pour it out onto your work surface and resist the urge to add too much or any flour.  Do some stretch and folds with a bench knife or dough knife.  This prevents your hands from getting involved too much and I find it the best way to work with such sticky doughs.  Let it rest uncovered for about 10-15 minutes.  Do some more stretch and folds and put it in a well oiled bowl or bucket and cover it.

Let it rest another 10-15 mintues and do some stretch and folds in the bucket.  Let it rest again and repeat until the dough starts to form some gluten.  I tend to let my dough retard overnight in the refrigerator so I only do about 3-4 stretch and folds total but you can do as many as you feel is necessary.

Hope this helps.

Boron Elgar's picture
Boron Elgar

LOL - just read your reply after I posted mine...all great minds think alike!

Boron Elgar's picture
Boron Elgar

In my opinon, there are a few things that will tame most wet (high hydration) doughs - stretching and folding at 15 to 20 minute intervals for an hour, letting it sit overnight in the fridge and then coming back to it in the morning.

There are some doughs that are not meant to ever come together in anything other that limp puddles of flour and water that have to be chased around dry flour dams so they do not run right off the counter/board (Carol Field's cocodrillo comes to mind), but most high hydration doughs thrive and benefit from stretching and folding and the flavor and gluten formation and handling capabilities improve with a night's cool nap in the fridge.

VonildaBakesBread's picture
VonildaBakesBread

LOL. Two heads can't be wrong, right? My next week's batch shall be stretched and folded, then left in the fridge overnight. One question...Do you let it come to room temp before you shape it? Well, two questions, shaping and proofing is all you do the next morning, right?

Blessings!

isand66's picture
isand66

If I'm using a dough that has commercial yeast in it I will form it into the shape I want to bake a few minutes after taking it out from the refrigerator being careful not to degas the dough too much.

If I'm using a sour dough starter I let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours or maybe 1.5 hours depending on the temp. of the room.

When making a sour dough bread it usually takes about 1.5 to 2 hours for the dough to rise properly.  I use the poke test to make sure the dough is ready.  For a yeasted dough it may only take 1 hour to 1.5 hours to be ready.

With experience you will learn how long to let the dough rise.  My house is usually about 70-72 degrees F. so I am able to have pretty consistent rising times.

Ian

 

Boron Elgar's picture
Boron Elgar

I usually bake in large batches - 7-9 lbs - and take the proofing bowl out of the fridge an hour or so before I want to start playing with it. It is still cold when I do begin working it, as it is a rather large mass and holds it temp. At that point, I scale it, shape it, then let it proof.

I have also been known to skip the morning warm-up altogether. I do not notice a difference in results, but the stuff is damnably cold to work with.