or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › Sourdough pumpernickel without a mixer -- old fashioned or just a bad idea?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sourdough pumpernickel without a mixer -- old fashioned or just a bad idea?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

Lately I've been on a sourdough kick.  The whole wheat and white loafs I've been making were easy and turned out great.  But then I tried a  pumpernickel.  It was about the stickiest dough I've ever encountered.  More so than any other bread I've ever made. 

 

I resisted the urge to add much more flour since the white and whole wheat turned out fine using similar ratios.  In the end, the pumpernickel turned out just fine but making it was a PITA.  It was kind of like kneading The Blob.  I wasn't sure who was going to eat who.

 

At any rate, I went off this recipe:

 

3C pumpernickel

2C all-purpose

1 1/2 C caramel syrup

2C sourdough starter

couple pinches of salt

 

Question is:  is there some technique that bakers use to deal with sticky doughs if kneading by hand?   Or -- should I stop procrastinating and just get a stand up mixer?  I was all set to buy a Kitchen Aid a few years ago until I read the reviews about exploding gearboxes.  Now I'm thinking almost any mixer would be worth it.

 

-Doug

post #2 of 7

Rye flour has much less gluten and is therefore more sticky.  I think if it came out fine, it's fine.  But what people generally use to hand-knead a sticky loaf is what they call a bench scraper (i think scraper, maybe something else) - a flat, rectangular piece of metal, about 5 X 4 inches, give or take, with a handle that goes all along one side of the longer edge (say you rolled up part of the metal and made a cylinder on one of the longer edges, or added a dowel to one edge)

You scrape off the board with one hand and knead with the other. 

I believe some use a pull and drop technique for sticky doughs (you'll get better experts coming in with more details) rather than actually kneading - so you scrape up the dough with one hand and the bench scraper and sort of pull that part up, then pull it over the main amount of dough and let it fall on top, continuing like that. 

You can also try to wet your hand while you knead. 

I have a kitchen aid, and have made bread once or twice a week for years with it, no problem.  But if you enjoy the kneading, and don;t mind the mess, it's not necessary. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

Much thanks for the tips!  I never gave it much thought but I always assumed bench scrapers were for portioning and cleaning up the counter.  It never occurred to me that you could use it for kneading.  But everything you say makes perfect sense.  

 

Despite learning something new, I still think I'm going to take the easy way out and buy a mixer. :)  I do like to knead by hand but it seems the older I get the less time I have.  Thanks again.

 

+D.

post #4 of 7

Yeah., i understand.  For me it's the time and also the mess of the counter.  I'm great at cooking but lousy (and uninspired) about cleaning - so flour remains all over the place, floor, counter, me, and so i don't.  I brought a kitchen aid over to rome in a suitcase (!!!) (when airlines had very generous weight allowances) and it lasted about 18 or 20 years.  Then  i brought another over.  It's still going strong, and it's another ten that it's going strong.  (Here they cost about 1000 dollars!)

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #5 of 7

Doug,

 

Of course you can hand knead.  People were actually baking before stand mixers were invented. 

 

There is a kneading technique for sticky and/or slack doughs.  I call it "stretch and slap." 

 

Start with an extra thorough mixing.  Let the bread "autolyze" (rest) for 20 minutes, and give it a "French fold."  After another 20 minutes, you can begin kneading.

 

Put the dough on the board.  Keeping it one piece, grab about 2/3 of it with your hands, and  lift it about a foot off the board, so that about half of that (1/3 of the total) stretches back down to the board and what's left of the original dough ball.  Slam the part in your hand down on top of what's on the board.  Turn the dough over, and do it again.  Repeat until your dough is shiny and elastic. 

 

Kneading this way does not require much, if any, bench flour.  The dough itself will suck up whatever sticks to the bench as you go.  It starts messy, but have faith and stay with it.  It should actually go faster than the "turn and fold" method you're probably used to. 

 

With respect, that's not a great recipe.  Try the recpie heading this thread, or at least take a look.  It will give a more useful bread, significantly less sweet and with a much better developed flavor.  This particular recipe doesn't have any kneading issues.

 

Note:  If you want to swap out the poolish in my recipe for your sourdough starter in order to get more tang, you can.  You can make it more sour still by swapping some of the flour and water in the non-poolish part of the recipe with starter which has equivalent amounts of both. 

 

A stand mixer is a great thing to have, but as a bread mixer/kneader it doesn't actually save much time unless you're making very large recipes. That's truer still if you're riding the autolysis trend (which you ought to at least try).  When you buy a mixer, plan on doing the last few minutes of kneading by hand to prevent over-kneading, transferring too much heat to the dough, and all the rest of machine evils. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 8/20/10 at 11:18am
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #6 of 7


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post


A stand mixer is a great thing to have, but as a bread mixer/kneader it doesn't actually save much time unless you're making very large recipes.

Ah, BDL, not so.   The time you save is not in the kneading, but in the cleanup!
 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

Thanks, BDL.  Very helpful and looking forward to test driving your recipe.   I was using a 7 day wild yeast fermentation for the starter, beginning with a tablespoon of flour and doubling every day.  I think the starter was great but my recipe didn't yield as sour a bread as I would have liked.  The flavor was good but mild.

 

Still going to buy that mixer though.  That or replace my tile countertop with something more dough friendly.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pastries & Baking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Pastries & Baking › Sourdough pumpernickel without a mixer -- old fashioned or just a bad idea?