The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Loaves don't keep shape

Markwm's picture

Loaves don't keep shape

Until recently, I made loaves with approximately 60% hydration. I did that because the dough was easier to work with, but obviously it made for a denser crumb. 

Over the last few weeks I've increased the hydration to 70% to get a better crumb, but I can't get my dough to hold its shape. I've watched every damn video I can find on YouTube about shaping and working higher hydration and nothing works. It feels like my seams won't stick, no matter how I stick them (or the top just oozes apart- I'm not sure why it doesn't make a neat little ball). They always end up being a step away from a pancake. The photo is today's loaf.  

For my birthday, my wife bought me a stand mixer, so I haven't been mixing by hand. I make sure to knead afterward and have a 15 minute period of autolyzation before adding salt.

I would be most grateful for any tips beyond the most basic (or how to do the basics better).

BaniJP's picture

Can you give us your recipe and process? 70% is usually a good hydration to manage.

Somaek's picture

Does your dough pass the windowpane test?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

would also be helpful.  Right now it looks like it is too big and/ or shallow for the amount of dough. :)

wetherel's picture

I’ve had the same problem.  Now, I put a round see-through plastic container over the dough, which the dough “climbs” up as it rises.  Also kneading, bread flour, and fast acting yeast helped me a lot to keep the rounder.