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Wet Dough Handling


doronin
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How do you manage to handle very wet dough - please, share ideas and techniques.

My specific difficulties are:

- when I'm trying to invert the dough from a bowl or a banneton on to the workbench, it tends to stick to the bowl with all the undesirable consequences. Flouring of the bowl doesn't really help, as wet dough absorbs that flour, and then sticks.

How do you cope?

- when I'm inverting a wet dough from the banneton on to a peel, it actually falls, and thus deflates.

How do you manage to do it? Hold the dough somehow while inverting the bowl?

- Shaping of wet dough to boule... When I followed the shaping instructions from the well known books, those multiple folds seem to deflate the dough completely.

What am I missing?

- Transferring from a workbench to a peel (if proofed on a workbench)

How to transfer the dough and not to ruin the loaf, considering it's very fragile?

Thanks!!

Edited by doronin (log)
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Not my idea but might help:

We've just serialised a book called Dough by a French baker called Richard Bertinet, who has very many interesting ideas about dough - as you can imagine. One of his tip-top priorities is having very wet dough and he explains wonderfully how to handle it and get it elastic without adding flour. You should maybe get the book - I don't know where in the world you are based but in England it's published by Kyle Cathie.

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How do you manage to handle very wet dough - please, share ideas and techniques.

My specific difficulties are:

- when I'm trying to invert the dough from a bowl or a banneton on to the workbench, it tends to stick to the bowl with all the undesirable consequences. Flouring of the bowl doesn't really help, as wet dough absorbs that flour, and then sticks.

How do you cope?

Use a little oil. EVOO in pump spray bottle (reuse one of the ones cleaning stuff comes in, well washed) is your friend.

Spray the top of the dough and your hands. Push your oiled fingers down the sides of the bowl, easing the dough away from the side all round, then invert the dough onto the lightly oiled worksurface.

- when I'm inverting a wet dough from the banneton on to a peel, it actually falls, and thus deflates.

How do you manage to do it? Hold the dough somehow while inverting the bowl?

My bannetons are usually fairy full, so the dough doesn't have far to fall. You can use a piece of baking parchment, and invert onto that.

- Shaping of wet dough to boule... When I followed the shaping instructions from the well known books, those multiple folds seem to deflate the dough completely.

What am I missing?

Handle the dough gently, but it sounds like your dough is greatly over-proofed. If the dough is over-proofed it will callapse. Underproved it is much more robust, and recovers from handling. Handling the dough cold helps as well.

Shaping to boule doesn't involve folding, more a rolling action, like pushing a softball with one hand.

- Transferring from a workbench to a peel (if proofed on a workbench)

How to transfer the dough and not to ruin the loaf, considering it's very fragile?

If the dough is that soft it wll need support during proof, either a banneton or a couche. If you need it on a workbench then use a sheet of baking paper, and handle it on that. Example in the baguette demo.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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If you use a basket banneton I will lightly grease a linen cloth and stick it inside before i put the dough in. Then when ready to roll out i gently let it fall onto my hand and then gradually lay it on the table/peel/pan. Also I use rice flour during proofing as it's not as easily absorbed. I nicle y coat the entire life and then place it in the banneton.

Jackal, I like how you also grease your hands. I use to think I was strange to do so.

Your dough might not be overproffed, if its falling because the roof is stuck the pan and is tearing when you pull it out. The its not how hard your dropping it on the table its the fact that a whol layer of sealed air has been stripped off and it all escapes.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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Has anyone tried the kneading mat made by Silpat? I bought one, but I never seem to remember to pull it out when I am working with dough. I'm kind of a creature of habit and don't remember to change my routine. Does it help when working with sticky doughs?

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Hello Doronin,

When I'm trying to invert the dough from a bowl or a banneton on to the workbench, it tends to stick to the bowl with all the undesirable consequences. Flouring of the bowl doesn't really help, as wet dough absorbs that flour, and then sticks.

A tip I use from Nancy Silverton's book is to rub the cloth or basket well with rye flour, even if it's a white dough. It really does help reduce the sticking. I quickly dust the outer surface of the dough just before placing it in the basket too. Also, make sure that the basket doesn't get too warm - if you keep the temperature below 23C- 25C it tends to stick less.

The condition of the dough before the final shaping is important too - if the dough is too close to exhaustion before shaping it will stick more. Shape the dough as soon as you see the first clear evidence of aeration. That means, when you cut into it you can see a network of smallish bubbles. Check that the dough still feels cool - for me I like to keep it around 20C - 24C, and that the dough still has stretch to it when you pull it.

You are also aiming, during the shaping, to create a slight skin on the outside of the dough piece at the end, though you want to avoid using too much flour during the shaping. OK, I know that sounds contradictory, but though you don't want to trap a handful of flour in the dough during shaping, you also want to use sufficient flour so that the final outer surface is taught and unbroken without sticking and tearing. The creation of a smooth taught surface before putting the dough in the bowl will help when it's time to get it out.

When I'm inverting a wet dough from the banneton on to a peel, it actually falls, and thus deflates. How do you manage to do it? Hold the dough somehow while inverting the bowl?

If you're using a bowl, firstly try and use one you can comfortably hold with one hand - perhaps a stainless steel bowl or small wicker fruit basket lined with a well rye floured cloth. Get the tray or peel ready, spray bottle, blade, absolutely everything you need. Make sure the oven is hot enough, and then shut down your ears. Just focus on quickly and gently doing the next steps and don't let anyone disturb you.

Make sure that the dough has risen slightly less that double. Flour both the upper surface of the dough in the banneton, and also flour (or use semolina) on the peel, tray and your hands. Then hold the basket upright in one hand, no more than a few inches above the tray and gently upturn and roll the dough out onto your other outstretched hand. Then immediately ease the dough onto the tray. Spray the outer surface lightly, cut the surface and get it into the oven. And these steps should take no more that 10 seconds.

As jackal10 says, the dough must not fall far, and it does sound like your dough is over proved when it gets to this point. It should somewhat resilient and gassy, though certainly fragile. Try shaping as soon as you first see evidence of bubbles when you cut into the dough, and let the dough rise slightly less than double before baking.

Shaping of wet dough to boule... When I followed the shaping instructions ...those multiple folds seem to deflate the dough completely. What am I missing?

Your dough is overproved. The key idea here is to keep the dough fresh and young at each stage. Check for the very first clear signs of bubbles in the dough, and do fold the dough gently every hour until this occurs. But stop as soon as it does.

A dough with a higher water content will allow fermentation to occur much faster than a dough with a lower water content. Keep this in mind, and reduce the bulk and final rising times if the dough seems to be rising too swiftly.

When you get to shaping, think "I'm gently easing the dough into it's shape" rather than bashing it into submission. A common story among commercial artisan bakers is how they watched in horror as an old-school new recruit manages to ruin a batch of dough through heavy handedness. It's not the new recruits fault, that's how they've been handling dough for the last X-many years. That's why so many artisan bakers would rather train an enthusiastic home baker rather than someone who has come through the old-school, "bash the dough", tradition. Keep it tight, swift and gentle.

Transferring from a workbench to a peel (if proofed on a workbench). How to transfer the dough and not to ruin the loaf, considering it's very fragile?

Do you mean the dough immediately after shaping, or after the final rise from a cloth on a bench? Before shaping, as soon as the dough is shaped it goes straight into the cloth or basket. Don't stop to flour it - that should have been done before you started shaping. Get the baskets, cloths etc set up and floured before you begin - then shape and straight into the basket. And keep a scraper close by, use this to ease the dough off the bench if you need to.

regards,

Dan

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How do you manage to handle very wet dough - please, share ideas and techniques.

My specific difficulties are:

- when I'm trying to invert the dough from a bowl or a banneton on to the workbench, it tends to stick to the bowl with all the undesirable consequences. Flouring of the bowl doesn't really help, as wet dough absorbs that flour, and then sticks.

How do you cope?

- when I'm inverting a wet dough from the banneton on to a peel, it actually falls, and thus deflates.

How do you manage to do it? Hold the dough somehow while inverting the bowl?

- Shaping of wet dough to boule... When I followed the shaping instructions from the well known books, those multiple folds seem to deflate the dough completely.

What am I missing?

- Transferring from a workbench to a peel (if proofed on a workbench)

How to transfer the dough and not to ruin the loaf, considering it's very fragile?

Thanks!!

I tend to make all my doughs wetter than I used to. Make sure that dough is well kneaded. If you are using rye and ww it will be stickier. I never do anything but flour the baskets. I worked in commercial bread bakery for a while and we made extremely wet doughs that went into baskets without sticking when risen. Dusting was done with medium or light rye flour.

It is normal for the dough to deflate some when you handle it. It is not, however, like a sponge cake. If you have well developed gluten structure it will rise in the oven. Start the loaves at a high temp and after the intial oven spring you reduce the temp to bake it. Steam also helps.

Good luck, keep practicing! Woods

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Thanks all for sharing your findings!

Dan - I highly appreciate your detailed reply.

May I ask you to elaborate your technique of shaping boule for a wet dough?

As for your question

Do you mean the dough immediately after shaping, or after the final rise from a cloth on a bench? Before shaping, as soon as the dough is shaped it goes straight into the cloth or basket. Don't stop to flour it - that should have been done before you started shaping. Get the baskets, cloths etc set up and floured before you begin - then shape and straight into the basket. And keep a scraper close by, use this to ease the dough off the bench if you need to.

- I meant a situation when I leaved a shaped dough for a final rise on a bench: in order to get it into the oven, I have to lift it somehow, and transfer it onto the floured peel. So the question is what is the right way to lift the dough at this stage. If I just pull it up by hands... it tends to stretch unpredictably, and loses its shape...

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I meant a situation when I leaved a shaped dough for a final rise on a bench: in order to get it into the oven, I have to lift it somehow, and transfer it onto the floured peel. So the question is what is the right way to lift the dough at this stage. If I just pull it up by hands... it tends to stretch unpredictably, and loses its shape...

I proof my loaves especially if wet dough on parchment paper and they are resting in a queue on a board so from there is a small push pass the oven door and onto the hot tiles

After few minutes parchment paper is removed and the loaf is turned over for browning.

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I proof my loaves especially if wet dough on parchment paper and they are resting in a queue on a board so from there is a small push pass the oven door and onto the hot tiles

After few minutes parchment paper is removed and the loaf is turned over for browning.

Hi piazzola,

Am I correct that you wait until a crust is formed before you remove the paper from under the loaf? BTW, can't parchment paper affect the crust negatively?

Edited by doronin (log)
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