The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

!!! Dough liquifies? (also, new)

quinn_hartly's picture

!!! Dough liquifies? (also, new)

I have a dough that magically liquifies.

I've made lots of the bread in the past, and was semi experimenting with a recipe - I was trying it using some of my sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast.

The dough initally came together as any other dough, though a bit on the sticky side. I completely expected it to take extra long to rise, which I didn't mind at all. I let it go for 2-ish hours.

But instead of rising in any way, or even just remaining the same, the dough had become a thick, sticky batter. I assumed I had not added enough flour, so I kneaded in more until it came back to a slightly sticky tackiness, then left it again.

And it liquified again.

And again.


I feel like I'm losing my mind, and I can't find a clue anywhere why this might be happening. So far I've added 3 cups of flour, and am on the brink of throwing it out sheerly out of frustration, but I really don't want to waste it.

PS: Apologies if this is in the wrong section, I am new to the site.

dabrownman's picture

have the not so rare dough of the living dead.  Best to bake it off, take it outside and shoot it with a shot gun for skeet practice.  Oh Yeah.....Don't miss will regret it more next time :-) 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

could be starch damage. The starch granules in grains can get damaged during milling. If there is too much of damaged starch you can get the effect you describe.

Yerffej's picture

What kind of flour is your sourdough made with?  How often do you feed the starter?  How often do you use the starter?  At what temperature is the starter stored and finally, did the ambient temperature rise in your area in the last few weeks?


ananda's picture

Hi quinn_hartly,

If Juergen is right, then the starch damage means excess amylase activity.   You could also investigate excess protease activity.   Also I recommend looking at Debra Wink's comment here, about thiol compounds:   She mentions the milk powder thread which is linked in her post.   It's a long thread, but has great contributions from Debra, Steve B, Suave and Dan di Muzio.

Best wishes


Yerffej's picture


The link that Andy has provided almost assuredly contains the answer to your problem.  There is a lot of information there but look specifically at Debra Wink's post titled "pesky thiol compounds" as, at this point, I believe thiols to be your problem.  Debra's post contains a solution to the problem pertaining to the handling of sourdough.


pongze's picture

I read this thread yesterday, thinking, hmmm... I better check on my starter.  I was on a trip and hadn't fed it in about 1.5 weeks.  I prepared a leaven last night as per usual, which for me is Chad Robertson's Tartine method.  Today, while it had risen as expected, it definitely did not have the gluten structure to which I had become accustomed.  I made my dough, and it seemed to be okay, although just a tad looser than usual during my stretch and folds.   I left it for the bulk rise... then I fell asleep.

When I awoke, I thought, "Uh-oh."  I checked on the dough and it had risen too much.  It seemed over-proofed, and it had no structure.  I basically poured it into a parchment-lined loaf pan and baked it off.  No caramelization of the crust.  I think it was just excessive proteolysis, but the structure of my starter makes me think I might be on the edge of getting too many of the thiol-producing organisms that Debra Wink posted about.  It only proofed for about 3 hours longer than usualy before shaping, and I was unable to shape it at all.  I've already started extra feeding of my starter and will hopefully get this corrected!

pongze's picture

double post