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A question about a recipe: Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Bread

Oatmealbread2

I have a question about step 2 on the recipe "Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Bread" from WinnieAb. It says:

"As you add the remaining 4 cups of flour (more or less), the mixture will become too difficult to stir by hand, so you can either mix it in Kitchen Aid mixer with the bread dough hook, or you can use your hands to knead in the flour in the bowl. When most of the flour has been incorporated and the dough is no longer sticky, transfer it to a floured surface."

I have used 1/2 bread flour and 1/2 whole spelt and have even added an extra cup of spelt, but this dough is far too wet and sticky to knead. Suggestions? I put the Kitchenaid mixing bowl in the fridge for the moment.

asked by softpunk over 2 years ago
13 answers 1594 views
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Miranda Rake

Miranda is a contributor at Food52.

added over 2 years ago

I haven't made this recipe, so I can't be sure, but I would guess that it has something to do with not using the type of flour that the recipe calls for (whole wheat flour or unbleached) and there for the recipe behaving differently. Have you added the full 6 cups?

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added over 2 years ago

I have added 7 cups to the sponge and it is still wet and sticky and not forming a ball.

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added over 2 years ago

I think thy after giving the dough a good rest so the whole grain flour can get good and hydrated, I should pop it back on the stand mixer for 10-20 minutes. If anyone has different advice I am all ears!

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added over 2 years ago

It is still wet and sticky and has gone back into the fridge for now.

Noz_photo
added over 2 years ago

I would let it rest at room temperature for up to an hour -- depending on the humidity and temperature of your kitchen, full dough hydration can take a very long time.

Spelt flour may also be a cause of your troubles -- it develops gluten and absorbs moisture differently from all-purpose flour. If your dough is still sticky after resting, I would advise adding extra all-purpose flour instead of spelt flour.

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

The rest period (called an autolyse) will help. But the root of the problem is that spelt flour is lower in protein than bread flour or WWF. Protein molecules are long and complicated, and part of what the kneading process does is extend them so that they take up the available water. The problem is that you have too much water for the amount of protein you have, even taking into consideration the WWF that you used. I'd suggest starting with an additional 1/2 cup of WWF, and add more if necessary. Persevere!

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added over 2 years ago

keep adding whole wheat flour, worst case scenario is you end up with an extra loaf. Boulangere is right on though about the proteins.

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added over 2 years ago

I am out of whole wheat flour, so I added strong bread flour an hour ago and it has been resting and rising since. It is still tacky buy not wet.

Should I treat this as the first rise, or knock it back and knead it some more?

Thank you so much for the suggestions!

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added over 2 years ago

Sorry for the typos - iPhone auto-correct...

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 2 years ago

Good idea to go to BF. Just proceed as usual and let that be your 1st rise.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

I haven't made this recipe, but I have been making breads for more than 50 years. The amount of flour specified in bread recipes is never exact. If your bread is too sticky, add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time until you get a kneadable dough.

There are so many variables that can precipitate the need for more (or even sometimes less!) flour in any bread recipe: humidity of the house, age of the flour, how it's been stored, etc, etc.)

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added 10 months ago

I keep making this recipe because the bread is simply delicious. However, I do have to add way more flour than is called for, I start with whole wheat for the sponge, then add unbleached plus about a half cup of ground flax, I just add till it feels right and generaly get four loaves, I am going to try to cut back on e maple syrup this time. It seemed way too wet at first, but now I have made it "mine".

Sarah_chef
Reiney

Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 10 months ago

To knead a wet dough, use very clean, wet hands to manipulate the dough. You'll find that as the gluten develops the dough becomes easier to work with. You may still need a bit more flour than the recipe calls for, but it will help!