Sticky Dough? What causes?

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Is it just too wet? Some of my best pizza crusts have been slightly
sticky, but other efforts have been too sticky to handle and at the
same time warning me about the addition of too much flour.

This ultra stickiness is to board and to hands, usually requiring a
scraper to quasi- knead the dough. I'm guess that's not a proper
kneading at all--more a brusing insult to the dough.

I live in an ultra humid climate, usually, but last night and for the
past few days it's been almost desert dry.  The flour, either Gold
Medal or King Arthur AP was a couple a months old.

So when the dough is ultra-sticky do I just keep adding flour or handle
it with a scraper and repeatedly oiled hands.


Re: Sticky Dough? What causes?

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Baking bread at home is not an exact science. I don't measure the liquid
when I bake bread.  I simply use enough to produce the quality of dough that
I want.  Some dough is very sticky - like ciabatta.  In that case, you do
have to use a bench scraper and oiled or floured hands to knead.  For most
dough you only want a very slightly sticky texture.  So, yes, if your dough
is too sticky you have added too much liquid and/or fat.  Low gluten flour
does not absorbed as much liquid as high gluten flour.  I think people make
too much out of the ambient humidity and the change in hydration of the four
due to storage conditions - but that's just my opinion.

It has been a long time since I made bread entirely by hand.  But generally
you put the flour in a large bowl and stir in the liquid until it is a
sticky mass.  Then the dough is turned out onto a well floured board and
worked.  It will continue to pick up flour as needed until it form a ball
with a smooth, elastic consistency.  At that point you don't want to
continue to add flour.  I would also recommend that you error on the sticky
side when in doubt.  The sticky dough will tend to be less sticky after it
rests and ferments.

Re: Sticky Dough? What causes? says...
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Vhumana's answer is a good one, I think, and I would like to add this,
professional bakers do not use the word recipe. Instead they say
formula, which tells you something about both the science and art of
baking. There are so many variables that you need experience to guide
you away from sticky messes or leaden lumps. Starting out by measuring
and weighing as precisely as you can is the best way to get where you're
going in baking. IMHO, of course.

Re: Sticky Dough? What causes?

You're sooooooo talented mr Vox Humana!  I'm sure that your Breads etc. are
just Wuuuuuunderfullll
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Re: Sticky Dough? What causes?

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I think someone needs a nap.

Re: Sticky Dough? What causes?

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Too warm a liquid will produce a sticky product.  A warm dough is just
sticky.  Have you been trying to hurry things along with a warmer than usual

Re: Sticky Dough? What causes?

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I proofed my  yeast in 110 deg. water for 15 minutes, as per
instructions, so the water was probably around 90, maybe, when I added
an egg mixture, then gradually the flour. I was making yeast rolls.

After spoon-mixing until smooth I glopped it onto a floured board and
tried to knead. Could only handle it with a bench scraper. After gently
slapping it around for a while I got the dough into an oiled bowl for a
rise, 90 minutes until "doubled" but the rise was a flat one.

Trying to roll dough into small balls was tough since the dough was
still ultra sticky. Let rise again. Then cooked. The rolls were
delicious, if slightly flat and uneven in size--shaper's problem.

Working with sticky dough is simply not pleasant. If this is the plight
of every baker then I may return to Sister Shubert's yeast rolls.

Oh, my yeast was Red Star, one of those quick rise kinds and it's maybe
a year old in the fridge. The proofing produced only a dozen or two
small bubbles. Seemed lazy to me, but what do I know? Should quick-rise
yeast be proofed at all and should  expect more action, bigger bubbles,
a froth?

Re: Sticky Dough? What causes?

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snip> Oh, my yeast was Red Star, one of those quick rise kinds and it's
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No, quick rise is intended to be used by mixing in with the flour.  Proofing
yeast is no longer recommended, particularly for 15 minutes.  With Active
Dry Yeast, you add the suggested amount of water to the yeast and stir and
let sit just for a couple minutes--the idea is simply to hydrate the yeast,
not to make it grow.  Quick rise and Instant yeast are intended to be mixed
with the flour.  If you were using packets of any of the yeast varieties, I
wouldn't feel comfortable with its liveliness after a year in the fridge.
Those packets are pretty unreliable anyway as they seem to be subjected to
so much abuse in the grocery store.  If you get another super gloppy dough,
fold it as much as you can, put it in a greased bowl for 15 minutes and
within the bowl, fold some more, then let it rest covered for another 10-15
minutes.  If you do this 3,4,5 times, you will end up with a very nice
elastic dough that can be handled.

Re: Sticky Dough? What causes?
I was told  to get the right ratio of flour to water it is best to
weigh the flour instead of using measuring cups  The problem is, that I
have never found a chart showing how much a cup of each of the various
types of flours weighs. So, I also use the feel method. BobbiJo

Re: Sticky Dough? What causes?

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If you look at the nutrition label on a product you can often find the
weight of a cup or tablespoon of ingredients.  For instance, most AP flour
says "one serving = 30 grams or 1/4 cup."  From that, you can calculate that
one cup of that flour is 120 grams.  Another comprehensive source for
ingredient weight per unit is the USDA database: /

If you have any books by Rose Levy Beranbaum (The Cake Bible, The Bread
Bible, The Pie and Pastry Bible) there are good charts that give the weight
for a cup of many ingredients including various types of flour (AP flour,
sifted cake flour, whole wheat flour, etc.)

I make all of my bread in the food processor or the stand mixer.  I
generally put the bowl on a scale and add the flour.  I have done this so
often that I can "eyeball" the proper amount of flour in the food processor.
I add all the other ingredients, including instant yeast and pulse to mix.
With the motor running, I slowly add the liquid until a ball forms that
rotates around the bowl.  After about a minute of kneading, I slowly drip in
liquid until the mass becomes a bit sticky and ALMOST grabs the bowl.  At
that point I remove the dough, round it up, and put it in an oiled bowl to

The amount of liquid depends on the type of flour I decide to use.  For AP
flour, 500 grams of flour might take a cup of liquid.  For high-gluten bread
flour from Costco, it might take over 1 1/2 cups.  I think what matters is
that the dough is right, not how much liquid was used.  For people use to
baking and expect to deal with precise measurements this can be
counterintuitive.  We all are told that baking requires strict measurements.
Generally I agree, but I think that home bread baking is an exception.

Re: Sticky Dough? What causes?
Thanks for the info.  I have written to that department for the
location of a chart. BobbiJo

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If you mean the USDA database, it is at the web address I posted.

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I would suggest that you handle it with a scraper for a few
moments to moisten the dry ingredients. Then, wait...

Leave it to rest for fifteen minutes or so.

Then, knead.

During the rest that I am suggesting, the flour will fully
hydrate and is likely to produce a dough that is far less

All the best,

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