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Rescue the dough?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I am new to breads. Got A's on all bread projects in culinary school, but never baked at home. Changing that.


Found a recipe for some slider buns on the videotube. Followed the link to the poster's blog and go the written recipe.


Followed the instructions precisely but ended up with a sticky sludge. Went through 3 packets of Fleishmann's and ended up with the same result.


Contacted the blogger and she said, "Just add more flour". That was it.


"How much more? The recipe and the video worked out perfectly. How do I know how much flour to add, ma'am?"


"Until it's just the right amount..."


*slap myself with my knife*


So, bakers, the question is:


If a recipe is followed precisely and one ends up with what is essentially paste, how much flour does one add to bring it to the correct doughy consistency.


I have a full understanding of the importance of measurement in baking. Can one just keep adding flour little-by-little until a desired consistency is reached?


If the recipe says to put my stand mixer on 4 and knead for 4 minutes, I expect that to be exactly how much it should be kneaded. When I reach the four-minute mark and have paste and continue to knead whilst adding, hasn't the whole thing been ruined?


Is there a rule of thumb? Or was this person's video all post-production magic and the recipe a crock (pun intended)?


Help please. I want to make breads for the rest of my life.

post #2 of 8

When you say you followed the recipe exactly, that phrase itself is ambiguous.


Measuring flour seems to be what the problem is here.

ChefTalk forums have a lot to say about this.


If the recipe calls for x cups of flour and you find you have to add a little more to get the desired consistency, so what?

Recipes are just guidelines and with practice, you will find this out.

There are so many variables with regard to baking; the temperature of your kitchen, humidity, your patience.


You are just going to have to experiment with your recipe. Try adding a small amount of flour to your paste. When the dough stops clinging to the sides of the bowl, you've got enough flour........Just knead a little longer to compensate.

post #3 of 8
yeast breads aren't exactly as precise as other pastry applications. Yeast is a living thing and has its piccadilos. Flours are, as indicated above, greatly influenced by humidity.

Heck, even mixers aren't even all the same. Five minutes of kneeding in my 600 series Kitchen Aid (at my kitchen) is probably going to be more 10 minutes in my 400 series at home. Or two minutes in the Hobart.

If you are serious about learning bread making I would recommend making your first batch of a new recipe by hand. It's the best way to learn the feel of the dough, makes it a lot easier in the long run.

Without seeing the video you watched, I would assume the slider buns are supposed to me on the soft and airy side. You probably will have a relatively wet or loose dough, though paste sounds way too loose. While more flour will bring it around, it could also be a matter of just working the gluten more.

Some doughs are crazy runny though, at the place I apprenticed at we made a crocadillo that was almost free running, you could only shape it after a couple of proofs and a cooling down in a fridge overnight.
post #4 of 8
Forgot to add, one thing I do is keep some vital wheat gluten around. If I have a dough that isn't coming together, and don't want to bombard it with too much flour, add in the gluten, say 30g at a time, and mix hard.
post #5 of 8

You should be able to tell if it needs more flour after a minute or two. You don't need to wait the full 4 minutes to add more.

post #6 of 8
Great advice.

I have little to add but do want to recommend you start with a yeast based white bread using AP flour.
Mix and knead by hand one loaf at a time.
It may take as little as 2 or as many as 10 before you have your Eureka! moment.
Patience Grasshopper.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thx, y'all....

post #8 of 8
RedBeerd... If you really want to bake bread your whole life the smartest thing you could do is learn about the bakers percentages. Once you understand that formula and know what the NORMAL water weight to flour weight is for the type of bread you are trying to make. You will be able to look at a recipe and see if it's incorrect. The type of recipe you wee trying to make is a direct dough that you mix all of the ingredients in all together and mix.

Most of those types of breads are going to be 70% to 80% hydration doughs. So if you use 500 grams of bread flour for a 70% hydration you would use 350 grams of water. For an 80% hydration dough you would use 400 grams of water. EVERYTHING is based on the weight of the flour you use. So your salt for that dough should be 1.5 to 2 percent of the weight of the flour... 7.5 to 10 grams. you would only need 1 packet of instant yeast, that's more than enough. No need to proof instant yeast the way you should with active dry yeast.

You might want google bakers percentage and learn that. Your understand of bread will change for the better immediately.

Happy baking.
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