The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Half white/ half WW Dough tears as I shape

jerryf01's picture

Half white/ half WW Dough tears as I shape

Another beginner haveing problems, useing 1/2 A.P. and 1/2 W.W. flour to make a pullman loaf, as I try to ball the dough for rising, the top tears. What am I doing wrong, I've machine Kneeded, hand kneeded, not too dry, just wondering what is it that I'm doing to cause that problem.

I'm a retiree living in the Philippines, and flour is get what you can get, when you can get it. Not a lot of choices, here it is just AP hard wheat flour.

I don't have this problem when making sweet breads, but it seems that I do when adding the WW flour.

TIA for any suggestions.

Kuret's picture

Altough you say its not I whould think that your dough is suffering from under hydration. When making WW bread without a soaker you should have a pretty slack dough right after mixing. This dough firms up during fermentation, do a couple of folds etc. then when you are shaping the bran should have absorbed water making the dough less slack.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Sounds like your gluten needs more developing.  Either knead it longer, or add a few stretch and folds.  Also, if you're too rough with the dough while shaping it, you can tear it.


rideold's picture

If you shape your loaf too soon after gathering it into the initial ball after bulk fermentation it can behave like you are seeing.  I agree about the hydration though.  If your recipe is for all white and you sub WW without altering the hydration you are kind of making the equivalent of a lower hydration dough since the bran in the WW is soaking up some of the water.  A soaker will help but it not necessary.  I'd check your hydration, give the dough a full 5 - 10 minute rest after the initial ball forming and see how it goes.

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Your comment makes a point that too many people gloss over.


The secret ingredient in bread is time.  The essence of bread making is patience.


Any time you work the dough, it becomes elastic and resists anything you want to do with it.


You can fight the dough, but the dough will win.  Or die trying.


Covering the dough and just walking away for a while really, really helps.  James Beard suggested letting some dense doughs rest for 30 minutes.  So if 5 to 10 minutes aren't enough, give your dough a longer rest.




jerryf01's picture

OK!, Thx all. At this time there is a lot to digest. I'm sure I can find some posts on "soaker" and overcome that point.

Then the under kneading portion, I bought a DLX N24 mixer (220V model for me), $490.00 including shipping, so as I read these different threads I think I see(?) where the hydration can be seen as you do the inital mixing. So that should help me as this KA I'm using is just hard for me to use. Most recipes tell you that you can sub WW on a one to one, but I don't recall seeing to add more water, so I just keep adding til it come into a ball. Enough? Big question.

  As I read Mike's blog about his mixer taking a dump in the middle of doing 140 loafs, stretch and fold appeareds. From what I read and understood this method will work on any bread dough? Is three of these exercises enough?

If I did under-hydrate the dough, would the S & F be the right method to try and add more liquids? Like spray the dough before each S & F?

   Tearing problem; occures as I try to make the ball for resting/rising.

Thx to all of you as all the comments have given me some insights on my wrong ways of trying to do this.



Recipe that I was using

6.5 cups flour scaled at 140Gs. per cup

8 tsp. salt.

2 tsp sugar

5 tsp instant yeast

4 fl. oz lard

14 fl. os. water.

I haven't learned yet how to get the %s yet, been out of school a long time. :^)

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

First, stretch and fold works with any wheat dough I've made. It does not seem to work with loaves that have lots of rye flour in them.


I took your recipe, it the USDA food database to get the weights for ounces, teaspoons and so on of some of your ingredients, converted your recipe totally to grams, and then calculated bakers percentages.


Here's the original recipe:


Ingredient As Stated Grams Baker's percentage
Flour 6.5 cups 910 100
Salt 8 tsp 48 5.27
Sugar 2 tsp 8.4 0.92
Yeast, instant dry 5 tsp 20 2.2
Lard 4 fl oz 102 11.21
Water 14 fl oz 396.89 43.61

A number of things jump out at me. First, that the pasted spreadsheet looks so nice! Good work Floyd!


Next, salt is normally around 2% of the flour weight. You have more than 2 1/2 times that. This tends to toughen the gluten and slow the yeast.  This will give you handling problems.


Speaking of yeast, you are using 2.2 percent. This is a fine percent. For fresh yeast. For instant dry yeast, about 1/3 that is more approprriate for a straight dough. Or around .5 to .7%.


Then there's the amount of liquid. I tend to count any oil, eggs and so on as part of the overall hydration. Doing that, you have a hydration of 54.8%. Which is great, for bagels. Not so good for a half whole wheat sandwich loaf. This will also give you some real handling problems.  I would shoot for something between 65 and 70%.


Also, this is about enough dough for two 1.5lb loaves. If you are putting it all into a single loaf pan, chances are you aren't giving it enough time to rise, despite the heroic amount of yeast.


The sugar quantity is low enough that I suspect it is a vestigital "the yeast needs sugar" thing. The yeast can make sugar from starches, so it doesn't need added sugar. If you add sugar for flavor, you usually add more than that. So, let's just drop the sugar.


Now, let's see about what's needed to make two 1.5lb loaves for you with these changes incorporated.


Ingredient Grams Baker's percentage
White Flour 450 50
Whole wheat flour 450 50
Salt 18 2
Yeast, instant dry 5.5 0.61
Lard 100 11.11
Water 560 62.22


The salt should be about 3 tsp, the yeast about 1 1/4 tsp. The dough will be considerably wetter than your last round. Try to not add much more flour and see how it comes out. Also, if you are melting your lard, try cutting into smallish pieces and kneading them in while still solid.

Also, I like to knead my doughs about 5 minutes, let them rest for about 5 minutes, then knead them for another 5 minutes.  The rest is especially important for doughs that have whole grain flours in them as it allows the flour to absorb the moisture in the dough.  Whole grain flours absorb more water than refined flours, but they do it more slowly.  If people adjust the moisture in the loaf too soon, they get on a rather precarious roller coaster.  The dough seems too wet, so they add flour.  Then the flour absorbs the moisture and suddenly the dough is much too dry.  So, be patient on the liquid adjustments.  Wait, if at all possible, until you are in the second kneading.


Hope this helps, and let us know how it works,



jerryf01's picture

Thx Mike A.

I will try this today.



4 PM local time, everything went well, bread tastes great, I learned a valued lesson and understand more about hydration, all is good, Thx much to everyone.