The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wet dough hard to shape

Beatlebill77's picture
Beatlebill77

Wet dough hard to shape

I've been trying James Morton's advanced white loaf (starter for flavour only, yeast for the rise) from his Brilliant Bread book, but despite getting the dough past the 'window pane' test, I can't get it to stay in a decent shape when it comes out the banneton and on to the oven stone.  The starter is 1/1/1 and starved a couple of days as per the recipe, but no joy.  Is there something I'm missing, other than just going against the recipe and reducing hydration?

Thanks.

julie99nl's picture
julie99nl

There is nothing wrong with going against the recipe. In fact, it's important to follow your own instinct and to consider your own environment and ingredients needs. Not all recipes or methods in recipes work for everyone in their environment with their flour. If I follow a recipe of an American chef, I almost always cut the hydration considering the French flour that I use.

What is the recipe exactly?And just out of curiosity, what is the reasoning given for starving a starter for a couple of days?

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

Imho and FWIW..I would add flour and make sure it's a lil stiffer dough. It just adds more insurance for a good loaf.  

Then you can increase hydration as you progress in shaping skills.  Mine stink and I'm happy with a touch lower hydration.  No shame.  Good luck.  

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

And which Beatle is your favorite? 

What's your favorite Beatles tune? 

Beatlebill77's picture
Beatlebill77

Don't have a favourite really...it's the collective genius I like! :D

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Bill, please send a link for your bread formula. I found this but it uses commercial yeast. https://www.sainsburysmagazine.co.uk/recipes/bread/basic-white-bread

If your starter is super overfermented AND you are using a large percentage of starter, you may be bring a weak levain into the dough. This will definitely cause the gluten to degrade. The formula I viewed was 70%. That dough should not be too sloppy to work.

We need to see your formula and method.

Dan

Beatlebill77's picture
Beatlebill77

Thanks folks.  The dough seemed to react in the way it should, as described in the recipe.  It became much more stretchy and passed the 'window pane' test as James Morton describes is.  It's just that by the end there still isn't enough structure to keep it up.

The recipe is:

425g strong white flour

7g fast-action yeast

10g salt

150g sourdough starter (1-3 days since last feed)

300g cold water

julie99nl's picture
julie99nl

How long are you proofing and what is the recommendation in the recipe?

 

Beatlebill77's picture
Beatlebill77

It's an overnight proof in the fridge.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The timing and temps become more important with fast acting yeast addition.  The sourdough is used only for flavour (because it will be weak) and fast acting yeast works strong and fast but for a limited time only. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

 Bill, you wrote, “The starter is 1/1/1 and starved a couple of days as per the recipe”.

What temperature is your starter kept at for the 3 days of starvation? I hope it was not left out in warm temps. This would be a recipe for soup.

It is possible that the large amount of spent levain is introducing a lot of degraded gluten into your final dough. 15% of your total flour originates in your levain. If this is the case, very slack dough is to be expected.

Even if your formula called for 75% hydration and used all white flour, the dough would be fairly difficult to handle for someone new to wet dough. IMO, there is a high hydration craze circling the Internet. I’m not against  wet dough, but it seems new bakers get caught up in the hype. I am under the assumption that you are relatively new to wet dough. Please excuse me if that is not the case.

Great bread can be made at hydrations lower than 70%.

Dan