The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How heavy was that dough?!?!

molly2004's picture

How heavy was that dough?!?!

Hi, there.  I'm a newbie here.  I just discovered this site last night.  What great timing, too, since I need some guidance.

To give a little background, I'm a novice.  I discovered bread baking via the method in the "5 minutes a day" book.  I branched out and started recently to work with whole wheat breads, using the King Arthur Whole Grain recipe book.  I've done a few recipes with great success.

One recipe really has me stumped.  I've thrown out two batches of dough now and can't figure out why. 

Here's the recipe:

2 tbsp OJ

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp oil

1 tbsp honey

1/4 raisins, packed

2 tbsp dark brown suguar (I used light)

3/4 cup 1% milk (I used 2%)

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (used KA)

3/4 cup medium or white rye flour (used Arrowhead Mills organic rye flour)

1 1/2 cup bread flour (used KA)

1 1/2 tsp salt (used kosher)

2 tsp instant yeast

On the first try, I mixed all the ingredients together with the paddle until the ingredients were just incorporated.  Then I covered it and let it rest for 45 minutes, as instructed in the yeast breads primer.  After which, I changed over to the dough hook to knead.  I kneaded for about 10 minutes and the dough never came together.  It was so dry that it looked like the topping you prepare for apple crumble.  I threw it out.

On the second try, mixed the ingredients again.  I opted not to let the dough rest and added the hook right away.  Still, the dough was so dry and crumbly.  I decided to add another 1/4 cup milk.  The dough finally came together but  it was so tough, my stand mixer (KitchenAid Ultrapower) seemed to almost get stuck several times while kneading.  I turned it off and called it a day when the motor started to smell funny.  I couldn't even knead the dough by hand. 

What could have happened?  I measured by volume rather than weight because I don't have a scale yet. 

Can anyone help? 


PaddyL's picture

When it comes to mixing everything at once, I hold back on the flour, some of each type in your case, I'd guess, on the off chance that the weather that day might be affecting the ratio of liquid to flour.  If it's just too dry, I'd add water, bit by bit until the dough comes together.  Or do it by hand, if you can.  When I use the mixer for bread, I usually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is that 2 Tbs water?  way too low...  Sure it's not 1 cup?  Something lost in translation to volume?    Could it be 200g?   The fluids in the recipe don't even add up to half the flour weight. (1 cup = 120g)(3.5 cups flour = 420g flour) (Liquids maybe 200g)  And those are known thursty flours meaning they require just a little more water normally. 

Mini O

possum-liz's picture

First of all NEVER throw out the dough.  Just flatten it out on the bench top, sprinkle with a little water at a time and "play" with it.  I bake a lot of bread, usually 5 or 6 loaves at a time so I do it all by hand.  I think it's a really good idea to get the feel of the dough.  If you don't like the sticky hands get some small vinyl food handling gloves.

I agree with Paddy--hold back some of the flour. I did some quick calculations and the flour /liquid ration doesn't seem too bad but I find that whole grain flours especially stoneground ones are quite variable in the way they absorb water. Because I'm baking "down under", I'm not familiar with the USA brands of flours to comment on them.

Happy baking  Liz

SourdoLady's picture

Since you are measuring your flour, be sure to fluff the flour first and then spoon it lightly into your measuring cup and level with a knife blade. Never scoop the flour directly out of the container with your measuring cup. Scooping compacts the flour and you end up with way too much flour. Could that be part of your problem?

molly2004's picture

Hi, there.

Thank you for your responses.  I'll try holding back some flour and see how it goes. 

Mini, since I'm a novice, I followed the recipe word for word exactly the way it was printed in the book.   The book also prints the ingredients list by weight and volume.  It says 2 tbsp of water, but also 3/4 cup milk so it seemed like enough liquid. 

As for fluffing the flour, I did the fluff, fluff, scoop approach as opposed to what you describe.  I'll try that too.

*sigh* I have so much to learn!

 Thanks for your advice!

Marni's picture

If it is, you could try contacting them to see if there was a mistake in the printing and new editions have been corrected.

The liquid amounts do seem low especially for whole grains. You've been given some great advice here, I'm sure you'll figure it out.

Good luck!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Found a Brown Bread on the KA site.... is this helpful?

1 1/2-pound Loaf
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Special Bread Flour
1 1/4 cups King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup medium rye flour
1 1/2 teaspoons medium sea salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast