The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

High Hydration Dough ... how much kneading/folding is enough?

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dosco's picture
dosco

High Hydration Dough ... how much kneading/folding is enough?

Recently I've been trying lower hydration doughs with more kneading in order to get a "smooth" dough. Also try the "windowpane" test ...

So how does one know when a high hydration dough has been worked enough? When I use the stretch and fold method, the dough gets stretchy, elastic, etc., which I assume to be a sign of gluten development. Is there a way I can determine on a batch-by-batch basis if I've done enough? Can't really windowpane a 70-something-percent dough because it's just too slack.

-Dave

yy's picture
yy

Stretching and folding is the way to go for high hydration doughs. The dough getting elastic and smoother in appearance is a good sign that the gluten is developing. Another is that your dough is no longer sticking to your bowl or container ( for this reason, never oil the container you're putting the dough in for bulk fermentation). You can still do a windowpane test for a 70 some percent dough. In fact, if the dough still is not cohesive enough for you to do the test, it's a sign that you need to stretch and fold some more. Just make sure your hands are thoroughly wet so that the sticky dough releases easily from your fingers.

dosco's picture
dosco

... the dough is cohesive enough for the test but is so slack that it is hard to tell if it will pass windowpane?

In many instances the dough is very much like "goo" (although still elastic it is so slack that it is gooey/bloblike) ... I'm havign a hard time determining if there has been enough gluten development because the dough is so gooey.

-Dave

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

is really not that high, what you describe just means that you have to stretch and fold some more. Really the windowpane test won't do for high hydration doughs and frankly I don't do it too much for lower hydrations either. With a dough that has lots of liquid in it, just try to do stretch and folds until it really starts to resist the stretching. Once that happens, do one (or maybe two) folds and you're done. You will really be able to tell when the gluten is developed enough, there's just no way to miss it.