The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sticky dough after bulk fermentation

emilybread4's picture

Sticky dough after bulk fermentation

I have tried the Tartine method and the Beginner's Sourdough Bread recipe (Perfect Loaf). I always have an issue after bulk fermentation where my dough is very tacky, sticky, and does not hold shape well. It sticks to my fingers a lot as I attempt the shaping phase. Does anyone have any suggestions? I am sorry if this post is a repeat of a similar questions. I really appreciate any advice you might have for me. Thanks!

Danni3ll3's picture

I found that the dough handled much better if I didn’t let the dough double. Now I aim for between 30 and 50 % rise and it makes a huge difference. Check one of my recent recipes for my procedure. 

WatertownNewbie's picture

First, if your bulk fermentation goes too long, then the dough will begin to disintegrate, which will make it impossible to shape.  Be sure that your bulk fermentation ends when it should.

Second, any dough with a hydration of 75-80% will be sticky.  When I dump the dough onto my counter after the bulk fermentation, the first thing I do is sprinkle a light coating of flour on top and spread it gently with my hand.  Then I divide the dough into two pieces and flip them over.  The sticky side is now up and helps greatly in getting the dough to adhere to itself when forming a pre-shape.  (The videos at SFBI are great for seeing someone with experience do this step.)  When I get ready for the final shaping, I again very lightly dust the top of the dough and flip it over.  The light dustings help make the outer surface smooth and not tacky (and maintain tension).

Hope this helps.  Happy baking.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

It's over fermented and too far gone to save then throw it in a pan and make focaccia. Spread it out, make dimples in the dough, sprinkle some olive oil, add tomato and herbs/spices then bake. 

There's a lot of satisfaction in saving a dough. Turning a failure into success. Never panic and be inventive.