Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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

aquaman55 03-22-2011 05:16 PM

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.


acbova 03-23-2011 12:38 PM

Re: Hand Kneading Sticky Dough
Reinhart says use wet hands. It works.

aquaman55 03-24-2011 02:51 PM

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!

texassourdough 03-24-2011 06:03 PM

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 one ever seems to want to do it the easy way.. so...I won't repeat prior posts.

Good luck!

splatgirl 03-24-2011 07:52 PM

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.

Tenorio74 03-25-2011 09:20 AM

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!

splatgirl 03-25-2011 10:27 AM

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.

splatgirl 03-25-2011 10:32 AM

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...

aquaman55 03-25-2011 11:52 AM

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

texassourdough 03-25-2011 01:56 PM

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, 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!

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:43 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
2006/10 Forno Bravo, LLC