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

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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%
    Attached Files

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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.
      Attached Files

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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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