The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Too wet. Too dry. I'm doomed!

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JuneHawk's picture
JuneHawk

Too wet. Too dry. I'm doomed!

So, a couple of days ago I posted about my failure with the Brianna's Pugliese recipe in The Bread Bible.  It was just too wet and didn't have enough flour so it flopped. 

Today I'm making the BBA's Poolish Ciabatta recipe and gosh darn it's too dry!  I added a bit more water towards the end of the kneading but didn't make much difference.  I did a search here now and I see I'm not the only one having this problem with this particular recipe.


So, these rustic Italian breads are kicking my butt!  One's too wet, the other's too dry...perhaps the third will be just right? LOL

 

I will let you know how these ciabattas turn out!

 

June 

richawatt's picture
richawatt

do you have a digital scale?  that will help to ensure that you are exact with your measurements. 

holds99's picture
holds99

For what it's worth, I have successfully made ciabatta from Rose Levy's Bread Bible for some time using a 5qt Kitchen Aid mixer, as she recommends.  Making these wet doughs really requires scaling your ingredients, using a stand mixer and following the directions to the letter.  Also, make sure your poolish is foamy and has creases in the top and not over-fermented and beyond its peak. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

JuneHawk's picture
JuneHawk

I do weigh my ingredients and my poolish looked great.  I just baked the ciabattas and they actually look great.  I haven't sliced them yet so I don't know what the crumb looks like.  They rose beautiful and held their shape great.  The oven spring was great too.

I think I was just over-reacting about the dough not being as wet as I exptected it to be but I guess I was comparing it to the pugliese fiasco.

 

June 

holds99's picture
holds99

June,

Really glad that your ciabattas turned out good.  It can be frustrating working with wet dough.  I bake my ciabatta loaves on parchment lined pans on top of a preheated stone with steam from a preheated cast iron skillet on the bottom oven shelf.  To get them onto the pan I bought a legal size clip board (removed the clip hardware) and covered it with a new pair of nylon panty hose, which my wife purchased just for the board.  This may sound crazy but I read about covering the board with nylon hose in a baking article.  Anyway, I stretched the nylon tight over the surface of the board and tied and taped (with packing tape) the back side so there wouldn't be any slippage of the nylon.  It works great.  After dividing and shaping I gently lift them from the work surface onto the nylon covered bread board, floured side down, then roll them onto the parchment lined pan with the floured side up---and there's no sticking to the nylon.  It works very well.  When I'm finished I let the nylon covered board dry completely at room temp. then brush off the excess flour and store the board in a plastic bag until next use. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

JuneHawk's picture
JuneHawk

OK, I just cut one of the loaves. What a disappointment. Even though they taste good, the crumb looks nothing like what a ciabatta is supposed to look like. I've included a picture of it.

June

 

holds99's picture
holds99

June,

From here it looks like the dough could have either been not wet enough or over-handled or both.  Read Rose Levy's recipe in the her Bread Bible.  You really have to be careful to get the correct hydration and not overwork the dough, minimum handling is the key.  No matter how tempting, don't add more flour.  The photo appears to show a line in the center of the loaf, indicating that flour got into the middle, where it was folded. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Good eyes, Howard! (The slender white line of flour-evidence.) But also, to my eye, it looks as if the dough may not have been wet enough. (I think some folding of a ciabatta dough helps strengthen the loaf.)

 I found your nylon-outfitted legal clipboard ingenious. I have been wondering how to simulate a peel approach and will try your clipboard gizmo. Thanks for the tip!

David (Soundman)

JuneHawk's picture
JuneHawk

It's all a learning experience, as my husband says!  As with the pugliese, I'll keep trying!

 

June 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

You might consider picking one recipe and sticking to it until you make it yours.

 

When you switch from recipe to recipe, you are learning which recipes work.  But not how to make a recipe work.  In the end, I the latter skill is more important.

 

Best wishes,

Mike

 

Oldcampcook's picture
Oldcampcook

Somewhat like the nylon covered clipboard, I cut a flap from a heavy cardboard box and stole one of Judy's knee highs to slip around it. 

I wanted it fairly long so I could transport my baguettes.

It works really nicely, but one caveat!  Don't let the nylon touch the baking stone!  (from experience!)