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Hand Kneading Sticky Dough - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

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Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

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  • Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

    To All:

    I hand knead all my pizza doughs because I enjoy it. My question is, with these doughs that have 65% hydration (a totally new concept to me) it's very hard not to add a significant amount of flour in order to keep the dough dry enough to handle by hand. This of course changes the hydration level!

    What's the workaround? Use oil on your hands?

    My best workaround is to only knead it until it gets too sticky (about 3 minutes). Let it rise for two hours, and then knead it again. By this time the dough is drier and needs less flour on the hands to work.

    Thanks,
    aquaman

  • #2
    Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

    Reinhart says use wet hands. It works.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

      Wet hands as in H20 wet, or wet hands as in "olive oil" wet? I tried it with oil and it worked for a short time. My other problem is I don't have a marble countertop, which may facilitate the wet dough better.

      Basically I need a Hobart mixer, a wood oven, and marble countertop!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

        Water for wet. Marble/granite is not good IMO. Much better to knead on wood. I recently switched to wood and will never go back.

        But...for really wet dough use stretch and folds instead.

        There is a good likihood you aren't kneading it enough to make it behave. What is the hydration of your dough and what flour are you using?

        I clearly have no knowledge of how much experience you have with wet dough but your low number of posts suggests you are beginning. I strongly suggest dropping the hydration until you can deal with the dough and then work your way back up to wet sticky dough. If you scan the archives there is plenty on how to work with wet doughs but...no one ever seems to want to do it the easy way.. so...I won't repeat prior posts.

        Good luck!
        Jay

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        • #5
          Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

          if your dough is really 65% hydration by weight then it's a technique issue. That is dry enough to be easily workable by hand.
          Jay has given you excellent advice. You just need more practice. Believe it or not, bread is something it takes a lot of time, patience and practice to really be good at.

          By my standards, a dough isn't a wet dough until it's in the 75-80% hydration range. Those can still be worked on the counter using stretch and folds and a bench scraper.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

            Hi Aquaman,

            I knead about 15lbs/day (just starting my business), and have done from 66%-58%. Below 63 its just plain easy. 66+ you have to have patience, and incorporate the flour very slowly to let it hydrate and absorb the water fully. And autolyse periods (5-10mins) are a must IMHO.

            Always leave a little flour behind for your hands, and finish incorporating it on the knead.

            Good luck!
            Tenorio
            Last edited by Tenorio74; 03-25-2011, 08:09 PM. Reason: Wrong addressee!
            May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

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            • #7
              Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

              The op is talking about a 65% hydration dough--I was using my standard "wet" as an example of what is possible.
              My suggestions were intended to address the idea of adapting ones' technique to the nature of the dough instead of vice versa.

              Based on my experience, I don't think that the use of bench flour or dough hydration is the OP's real issue.
              I do not, as a general rule, add flour or "incorporate slowly" any flour during kneading (and often, I don't truly "knead" anyway). Once I have mixed a dough, the only additional flour it ever sees is at shaping.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

                Excellent clips from our sage texassourdough, but relative to SHAPING a dough, which is a whole nuther subject!

                I understood the OP to be asking about kneading...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

                  Thanks y'all!

                  I threw thousands of doughs in a WFO when I was a cook at Zinzino in San Francisco. (The space is now occupied by A16). The irony about those years was that I never worked the mornings when they prepped the dough. My personal quest to find amazing crust recipes brought me here after much success with previous doughs. Like many on this site, it's just for fun!

                  To splatgirl, my question was about the kneading part of it, not the shaping at cook time.
                  To that end, all of you have given great advice. I will post photos after the next session.
                  Thanks again

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

                    IF you can shape wet dough, aquaman, just use wet hands. Somehow I overlooked your 65% hydration when I asked... That is not a very wet dough. It really shouldn't be requiring you to add a bunch of flour. At 65% the dough will go through a phase where it is pretty messy and you simply have to keep going. It WILL (well should) come together and make a cohesive well behaved dough. It will probably be a bit sticky, especially if AP, but...it shouldn't eat your lunch. Mix it to the point of no dry flour, preferably without salt and let it set about 20 minutes. Then add the salt and resume. Work the salt in well. You will feel the gluten tighten from the salt. You may want to drop your yeast by 10-20 percent from your norm for it will reproduce a lot faster without the salt.

                    Start with wet hands and keep kneading. The dough will come off your hands as it forms. Watching PR make dough is like crazy - he can do it and keep his hands clean the whole time. I personally accept some sticking to my hands/scraping it off again in order to not add too much water...but I do prefer extra water to extra flour for the water doesn't screw up the dough.

                    Good luck!
                    Jay

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough

                      Originally posted by aquaman55 View Post
                      Thanks y'all!

                      I threw thousands of doughs in a WFO when I was a cook at Zinzino in San Francisco. (The space is now occupied by A16). The irony about those years was that I never worked the mornings when they prepped the dough. My personal quest to find amazing crust recipes brought me here after much success with previous doughs. Like many on this site, it's just for fun!

                      To splatgirl, my question was about the kneading part of it, not the shaping at cook time.
                      To that end, all of you have given great advice. I will post photos after the next session.
                      Thanks again
                      Hey Aquaman,

                      Having worked with a WFO (but not knowing what type of pizza Zinzino makes), what was your aprox. oven temperature range (dome/floor)?

                      I'm just starting, have probably only done 100 or so in my WFO so I'm just getting the hang of it.... Thanks!

                      ps. Sorry Splatgirl, I had double vision or something when I posted earlier!
                      May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

                      Comment

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