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Author Topic: Dough is too dry *grumble*  (Read 2775 times)

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Offline ojuice

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Dough is too dry *grumble*
« on: July 17, 2006, 05:37:28 PM »
I'm sure I'm not the only person who's had this problem.  You follow a recipe, and for various reasons (such as dry flour), the dough isn't wet enough--and very stiff.  So you add more water, which of course creates a slick paste around the dough! :-\

What methods do you guys use to work in more water without becoming a goobery mess?
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Dough is too dry *grumble*
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2006, 07:24:34 PM »
ojuice,

Are you weighing your flour and water, or are you using volume measurements? Weighing the flour and water is not an absolute guarantee that the dough will come out perfectly, for reasons such as you mentioned (the flour is dry), but you will usually get closer and make the tweaking of ingredients much easier.

The dough processing steps I use for most of my standard doughs are those set forth in Reply 8 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg19563.html#msg19563, starting at about the middle of the post. I have found that following the steps enumerated there rarely fails me, even if I have to make minor adjustments to the flour and water. What I try to do is to get the flour as hydrated as possible without excessively developing the gluten, and leave the final knead to do the bulk of the gluten development, usually after the oil had been added. At that point, it is still possible to add more water or more flour without getting a gloppy mess, and usually the adjustments are at the teaspoon or tablespoon level. I personally am not a big fan of autolyse or similar rest periods, but if you use one or more rest periods you should get better hydration of the flour, and the dough will handle better throughout the entire dough making process. Whatever you do, you should not assume that any dough recipe is foolproof, especially when using a standard home stand mixer. In my experience, maybe eight times out of ten you will have to make some adjustments, even if they are minor.

Peter


Offline buzz

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Re: Dough is too dry *grumble*
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2006, 03:12:05 PM »
I'm not a fan of weighing, so I usually start out with a bit less liquid than I need (flour can require more or less hydration according to humidity, altitude, age of flour, etc.), and then add more liquid as necessary--but just a little at a time. If you dump a lot of liquid into the mix, you will get paste! If it gets too wet, just add a little more bench flour to your board. Never had a problem by going slowly.

Offline Jack

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Re: Dough is too dry *grumble*
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2006, 03:59:01 PM »
I found that since buying a digital scale on ebay ($22 delivered) my dough has been very consistant.  Volume measurements and eyeballing the texture just didn't work for me.  I still cook everything else by taste, but I just wasn't getting a consistant dough.

Jack

Offline billneild

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Re: Dough is too dry *grumble*
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2006, 10:21:29 PM »
I weigh out the water, in my case 6.3 oz.  I use a food processor.  First all the dry ingredients go in for a quick pulse.  Then I put about half the water in all the way around in the middle (as if I was sprinkling water on the rim of a tire.  Pulse a couple of times.  Add more water through the feed tube as I am pulsing.  The dough invariably starts to come together just before I have used all the water.  20 seconds more of pulsing and I stop.  Drizzle oil on top and after a few minutes I pulse to get the oil incorporated.  The dough is wet enough that I have started flouring my hands so it won't stick as I remove from the processor.  Since I started WEIGHING everything except the yeast and salt the dough is the same every time.  There may be slight variations due to changes in humidity, but as Pete said, we're talking a teaspoon or less.  Buzz is right however, by knowing approx. how much you need and going at it slowly you will get to the right point, but you have to know what that "right" point is.  Real pros know just by the feel where they are.  I am not a pro.  For a non-pro it's easier to treat it like a science experiment - consistent input yields consistent results.

Bill

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Offline buzz

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Re: Dough is too dry *grumble*
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2006, 11:10:41 AM »
I've found variances in my hydration needs as much as 2 or 3 teaspoons!

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Dough is too dry *grumble*
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2006, 12:29:19 PM »
buzz,

Although the post referenced in Reply 1 of this thread was written for the benefit of a member who was using volume measurements, what Bill and I were referring to in our recent posts was respect to weighing the flour and water. With volume measurements, the amount of flour and/or water adjustment can be fairly wide, depending on how one measures out the volume quantities.

Peter

Offline ojuice

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Re: Dough is too dry *grumble*
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2006, 01:38:36 AM »
Sorry about this late reply, I already did but I forgot to hit Post.  ;)

Thanks for the tips, I'll definatly look into getting a digital scale.  A lot of the recipes I use, are written using weight anyway, and I convert to volume manually.
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Offline buzz

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Re: Dough is too dry *grumble*
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2006, 09:30:48 AM »
That's the beauty of doing it by feel--you very quickly get to know your dough, and how the flour is behaving that particular day (bad flour!)--that way, you can get consistent results time after time!

Offline billneild

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Re: Dough is too dry *grumble*
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2006, 03:26:52 PM »
I used to make the dough by "measuring" the flour.  It never came out the same twice for me.  By weighing the flour I come within that teaspoon or so and I can adjust in from that.  In the old days (cup measures) I would think "gee, this isn't working, add more water.  Oops know all I have is goop, add more flour"  and so on.  We all have our own methods.  Use whatever works for you.

Bill

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Offline Jack

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Re: Dough is too dry *grumble*
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2006, 06:19:49 PM »
I would think "gee, this isn't working, add more water.  Oops know all I have is goop, add more flour"

Bill,

Did you hang around in my kitchen before I got my scale.  Maybe one more tablespoon of flour. . . . . .

Jack

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