Home Cooking 7

working with wet doughs?

dixieday | Jan 9, 200509:37 PM

I love hard-crusted, holey-inside artisanal breads, and have tried my hand at baking a number of them, especially using the recipes from Fran Gage's Bread and Chocolate book, since I loved the Bay Bread (now Tartine) bakery's breads that many of her recipes are based on. The problem is that the dough for most of these breads is very slack and gooey, almost wet. Presumably, this is what gives the moist crumb and stretchy, holey interior. Not surprisingly, most of the recipes I see for these kinds of breads say to knead the dough in a stand mixer using a dough hook. Well, I don't have the money or space for one of those, but when I try to knead these doughs by hand, they are so sticky that my hands end up stuck in the dough like glue, which is very frustrating--huge dough paws! Or I have to add so much flour to make the dough workable that I end up with a very dense loaf that's more like regular slicing bread rather than a euro-type bread. Any suggestions? Thanks so much...

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