The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough too liquidy during shaping

delta25's picture
delta25

Dough too liquidy during shaping

Hi everyone, I posted last week with a couple of questions, and this past weekend I took the plunge and baked my first loaves!

However, I ran into quite an issue. For the record i was following Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast recipe for Overnight white bread, and his 30% Whole Wheat with Biga.

In both cases, when i came to the shaping phase, my dough was too liquidy. I don't just mean sticky, which i can figure out, but this thing was so runny it was impossible to handle entirely. It was so bad, that when I turned it out on my counter, it almost spilled over the edge! Folding the dough to create a seam in the middle was borderline impossible, because it would just open up instantly :(

I think this was mostly related to my room temperature. My room temp was around 27 Celsius (80F) which greatly affected the consistency of my dough. As such, for the 30% While Wheat with Biga, I used cold water when mixing the rest of the dough.

I was hoping more experienced bakers would have some tips for me :) 

Thanks in advance

Abe's picture
Abe

You've run into the very same problems many people have when following a Forkish recipe. His recommended fermentation times (amongst other things) are way off for most people.

I suggest you flip the timings around and instead of an all night fermentation you aim to start it in the morning so you can keep an eye on it.

You're also going to have try and cool things down a bit. Using chilled water and flour if need be then find a cooler spot.

It won't harm to lower the hydration for now just while you sort everything else out. Lower hydration will slow things down as well as make it easier to handle.

Hope this helps.

delta25's picture
delta25

Thanks! I'll try finding some time to do everything in one day, such that I can monitor by volume rather than time. Perhaps i can also try having the bulk fermentation in the fridge rather than room temp.

Just some quick follow up questions, do you have a good recipe for  a beginner to try? And what effect would lowering the hydration have on the final loaf? 

Thanks

Abe's picture
Abe

But lowering the hydration to something a lot more manageable and aim to start the dough in the morning. Lowering the hydration will just affect the crumb. The main mantra with making bread is always to watch the dough and not the clock.

What you could do is start the dough earlier. Develop the gluten, give it some bench time so the dough is aerated and billowy, not doubled - about 30-50% increase, give it one last stretch and fold then place it in the fridge till the morning. Next morning take it out of the fridge, shape and final proof.

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

Everyone who has naively followed Forkish's timelines has suffered the same experience you described.  Welcome to the ranks.  As Abe said, you will often encounter the saying "Watch the dough, not the clock" in TFL posts.  When it comes to FWSY, those words are especially true.

Some adjustments are needed when baking a Forkish recipe (and I am a fan of his recipes, especially Field Blend #2).  Expect less time to be needed for the bulk fermentation as well as for the final proofing.  Also, to avoid a tremendous waste of flour, scale down on the levain.  For example, for the Field Blend #2, Forkish would have me prepare 1000 g of levain, but use only 360 g in the recipe.  I prepare 400 g instead, and the little bit that sticks to the container is extra that gets discarded (rather than over 600 g).

Keep baking and keep asking questions.  Also, do a search on TFL for Forkish bakes and you will discover some good and informative posts.

delta25's picture
delta25

Yeah, getting to field blend number 2 was my goal too. Just looks so tasty. I'll keep at it. Thanks :)