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How wet is too wet? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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New Forno Bravo Forum Feature

Forno Bravo Forum Community,

You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
- The live thread will remain in the AMA forum to view after the session.

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.

We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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How wet is too wet?

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  • How wet is too wet?

    I've been working my way through Peter's book, and having some success, but I really struggle with how wet the dough should be.

    I'm pretty visual, so I think photos (or video) of others' success would be very helpful for someone like me. Does anyone have any prize photos of your masterpiece coming together you'd like to share? YouTube link?

    Thanks!

    James

  • #2
    Re: How wet is too wet?

    Here are some random pics of a wet dough. I don't weigh but I would guess it is in the range of 65-70%

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    • #3
      Re: How wet is too wet?

      Here is another that shows how wet it really is. This is just prior to balling.

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      • #4
        Re: How wet is too wet?

        While in general the wetter the dough the better IMO, there is little point in making dough that you cannot reasonably handle. (I would say the goal is generally to make a dough that is as wet as you can reliably handle.) Don't worry about pursuing hydration until you have things under control. If you make a 65% dough and have problems, drop the hydration to 62. If you still have problems go to 60 or 58. You are unlikely to have to go below 55 unless your flour is really weak/low protein or your handling skills are pretty poor. Increasing the mixing time will tend to make the dough more manageable (but has other issues so is not really recommended but...).

        Peter's recipes work well. The retard is an important flavor builder. (The worst aspect of Peter's recipes is that they are not in grams!) Use a scale. It will make your results much more predictable.

        It is not particularly difficult to work with wet dough - once you understand how. Don't be afraid to use plenty of flour on your hands and on the counter/surface where you shape the dough. And use semolina on the peel. And...use a wooden peel for putting the pizza in the oven. They stick less than aluminum. And be fast, don't let a pie sit on the peel for 20 minutes. (or use parchment paper - especially if you find yourself with dough you can't handle gracefully).

        Good lUck!
        Jay

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        • #5
          Re: How wet is too wet?

          Or the slotted peel, it actually works better than wood, and naturally removes 95% of the bottom flour on use. I also use my dough cold, straight from the fridge, and that helps too.

          The hydration also varies with the flour, Caputo 00 really doesn't need anything over 60-63% while the King Arthur bread flour/semolina dough that I usually use requires more hydration for the same flavor and spring.

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