The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sticky Dough - recommendations please

ndechenne's picture

Sticky Dough - recommendations please

So I've got two recipes that I'm currently trying to get down, the Stella Culinary artisan loaf and Hammelman's Vermont Sourdough. Bulk ferment and slap and fold knead methods are the focus here. Regardless...

I live in the PacificNorthwest. Wet environment. My doughs are going towards the sticky side if I go straight to recipe. I have a great scale, I work without machines and the product tastes great.  Oven spring is ok but they are not as cohesive as I'd like them to be (They look more like a 3/4 filled water balloon that a fully filled one, if that makes sense).

Dough is sticky. Hard to work with even after 2nd/third S&F's and it sticks too much to the plastic wrap and/or bannetons in FP. Rice flour I'm gonna try to deal with that but overall I think the dough is too wet. 

My first inclination is to back off the water a bit and try another go. Thoughts from the group on if you'd go there first or look to another issue. And if it is water, what's a good percetnage to back off... 10%... 20? Are there any decent guidelines for this perhaps when tweaking recipes for local climates?

Thanks for the help!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and a super-thin layer on your hands.  A few drops will do the trick and use cool hands and just your finger tips.  If you want to back off the water, try backing down 10% and then working back up with 5% increases with each consecutive batch after you've gotten control of the dough.  New bowls and containers work better as non-stick surfaces than older worn "cloudy" surfaces.  

You can also back off the water and use water to wet your hands before handling the dough.  Wet kneading and folding is a lot of slippery fun!  ...and no flour clumps!   

 That's about all I can come up with at the moment.   You seem to have good instincts. 

phaz's picture

 higher hydration is supposed to =  bigger holes.  if you can live with a slightly less than perfect crumb and a denser loaf, lower water a smidge, or add more flour till the dough is to your liking.  personally, I find huge holes a bit of a pain.  yeah, it's not text book perfect, but it holds your favorite spread a lot better. the main thing is the flavor, and I doubt you would notice any difference there. by the way, wet hands works out great!