The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to knead a very sticky dough

Mells's picture

How to knead a very sticky dough

Hi everyone. I'm new to this site and as well as making bread too. 

Okay. Previously, I've baked using cup measurement and the dough is pretty smooth and elastic. But I've heard people saying that cup measurement is not that accurate and the dough is suppose to be sticky, so that the bread is soft and fluffy. 

And then I tried again using the weighing scale to measure my bread flour. And this time, the dough is so so so sticky! I couldn't knead at all, it sticks on my hand, the bowl and the counter too. 

I tried putting flour on the dough but it still sticks so I add again and again. But it's still so sticky so I did not knead much. I do not want to add too much flour but I just couldn't help it. So, in the end, the bread came out so dense. I don't know how to knead in such a sticky situation.  

Your reply is appreciated. Thanks.  

dabrownman's picture

slap and folds 8.3.and 1 minutes to really develop the gluten before doing stretch and folds.  The dough should begin to release from the counter after about 6-8 minutes depending on how wet and sticky it is.  There are all kinds of videos on YouTube just search for Slap and Folds and there might even be one on this site.  Use the search or look under videos.

Happy  baking

Heath's picture

You say weighing your ingredients is making the dough unworkably sticky for you.  Are you using the recipe weights, or an online conversion tool to convert the volumes to weights (as I do)?  If so, try weighing YOUR cups of flour and converting the recipe using your weights, so that the recipe is the same for you as using volumes. 

The reason why weighing is advised instead of using volumes is that you get consistent results.  100 g of flour is always 100 g of flour, whereas a cup of flour can vary in weight depending on the flour used and scooping method etc.

I don't think the dough is SUPPOSED to be sticky.  Different recipes result in different levels of stickiness, but a non-sticky dough can result in a good loaf.  When I was new to breadmaking I'd panic at trying to handle a sticky dough, but it gets easier with practice, and seasoned bread makers are not fazed by really wet and sticky dough.  Find what works for you, and you can always experiment when you're more confident.

Sticky dough is a positive for the slap and fold method of kneading  - you want the dough to stick to the counter so it can be stretched.  I've found it really is the best way to knead intensively.  This is the video which really helped me to get to grips with sticky dough and slap and folds:  It's a long video, but worth watching through several times as you'll pick up some really good tips.