Wet or Too Wet?
Over the last year my girlfriend and I have had a lot of fun experimenting, with varying success, with sourdough.
This weekend we had one of our typical issues - a very wet / too wet dough. The recipe was a simple one from a British guy's baking book - off the top of my head 400gr white bread flour, 200 starter, 275 water (cold), 10g salt.
When I mixed this ahead of an autolyse the result, and it remained the same way after, was a very wet dough indeed. Neither of us fear handling a wet dough, but this was not just wet but felt wrong - rather like a thick cake mix? It was only after about 10-15 minutes of kneading that it started to take on the slightly elastic quality that I'd associate with a standard dough as the START of kneading. Before that it was just thing soft wet splodge!
My gut reaction when I first mixed it was to add more flour, particularly as my girlfriends starter has a high hydration, but I always remember 'the wetter the better'.. in fact the final bread was OK, if very flat once we'd freed it from it's proving basket and it spread during baking. But what is the cause of a dough that is so wet it's not even stretchy / semi-solid. Is it as simple as too much water? Am I missed a trick in terms of flour type or kneading? I have had the occasional dough that went this way part way through kneading and i wondered if it was the result of using oil / water to cover the surface I was kneading on.
Any thoughts most welcome! Thanks