The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to Deal With Lumps

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

How to Deal With Lumps

When the goodly DanAyo, writing up the 123 Sourdough No Knead - Do Nothing Bread, says, "...making sure there is no dry flour..."

Does he mean "-ish?" Like, "close enough.'

Or... like, every lump anywhere must be eliminated? 

I have lumps. About the size of a half of a BB pellet or lentil bean. Maybe smaller. How do you get rid of lumps?

Murph

phaz's picture
phaz

Ask the originator of the method - you can message them. I can say, I've done no knead for a long time (or petty close to it), and never had lumps. Enjoy!

Benito's picture
Benito

I’d say you don’t want lumps Murph.  Sometimes the lumps are due to clumping of the dry flour which you can lessen via sifting of your flour before using.  I haven’t had problems with lumps as you described other than when I tried using a stiff starter and tried to add it to my dough during it and I wasn’t even able to eliminate all the lumps and you could see them in the baked loaf.

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

Hi, Benny...

You could see them in the baked dough, huh? This was when I tried to mix the levain into my recipe.

First, I added the levain into the water that was called for in the recipe. Stirred to dissolve.

Then I added the recipe's flour into the levain-water. Lump City. Blah.

I tried incorporating a little at a time. Still no good.

I could knead. I could stretch and fold... Maybe slap it around... The 123 Sourdough Recipe says just stir with spoon or hands, though.

As if...

I'll just press on and see what happens.

Stupid lumps... :)

Murph

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Murh, I haven’t had lumps for a long time. I used to get them often. Mixing the levain and water thorouhly (as you stated) is good practice. After that (as Benny said) slowly sift your flour into the mix. Slowly and gradually stir to incorporate.

Are you mixing by hand or machine?

 

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

Hi, Dan,

Thank you for everything that you do at TFL. I've read many of your posts that go back quite some time. Always friendly... Always helpful.

I mix by hand. It was quite a mess but I got through it.

I like the 123 recipe because it's a small loaf and easy to practice with. I stretched and folded a half hour after beginning the bulk ferment because I forgot... the salt! :)

From my reading, that's pretty common. I chuckled when I did it.

Ah, well...

Another nice thing about the recipe is it gives me a chance to get timing and note-taking into the mix. And refrigeration.

I wound up refrigerating both the levain and now the bulk fermentation because the timing didn't work out. And I didn't take a single note. I'll never remember when I started a particular process. This means that I'll be repeating the timing mistakes again.

All around, this is a really important recipe for someone to master before moving on. This can't be overstated.

Baby steps, as they say... and as you've stated throughout the comments in the recipe.

Anyway... the lumps vexed me. I'll add flour more slowly. I was developing quite a bit of gluten toward the end. Can I mix that too much?

Murph

 

dbazuin's picture
dbazuin

I use a large bowl to start.

I add al the four mixed with the salt. 
With a doughsraper I pull it to one side. 
In the empty space I add part of the water and mix it with the levain adding a bit water at the time.Then a start mix everything to gether wit s spatel or a danish whisk. 
Then a start working it with a doughscrapper until al the flour is mixed with the water levain mix.

dbazuin's picture
dbazuin

I use a large bowl to start.

I add al the four mixed with the salt. 
With a doughsraper I pull it to one side. 
In the empty space I add part of the water and mix it with the levain adding a bit water at the time.Then a start mix everything to gether wit s spatel or a danish whisk. 
Then a start working it with a doughscrapper until al the flour is mixed with the water levain mix.

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

Ah, you you do it the other way around: Adding water-levain to flour, slowly.

In any case, a slow incorporation seems to be the key.

Thank you all for the responses.

Murph