Testing Flour for Water Take-Up


Shao Ping alluded to a way to test a flour for how much water is needed to achieve a good dough consistency.  The lovely part is I do not recall which post or recipe I saw that in nor can I recall where she said such instructions are found.  I have a wicked time with the doughs being too sticky.  I try adjusting the water in a recipe by 10 or 20 percent and then either end up with the dough yet too soft or too stiff.  It's very frustrating.  If there is a way to figure this out per new bag of flour (I don't always buy the same brand) BEFORE digging into a recipe, I'd be thrilled to know it.


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farinam's picture
farinam 2012 August 26

Hello CayoKath,

I don't recall seeing what you are talking about but that is perhaps not surprising these days :)

One method that is often used is to hold back a percentage of the water from the dough mix and then make an assessment of the texture during the mixing/early development stage and adding more water in stages until the consistency is right.  It can take a bit of puddling around to incorporate the water if you are doing this by hand but this is preferable to adding flour to a wet mix as you run the risk of having undeveloped flour and as the flour takes time to absorb water it is much easier to over add and end up with a too stiff dough.  Graeme touchs on the topic in one of his Sourdough Baker videos.


Hope this helps and if I come across anything on the topic you remember, I will let you know.

Keep on bakin'


TonySomerset 2012 October 29

My experience is that sourdoughs are very sticky compared to usual yeast doughs.

You have to learn how to handle it. I keep flouring my hands until I have a workable dough. Adding more water as a last resort because that really gets messy.

Remember sourdoughs are artisan breads. The emphasis is on artisan, not technical exactitude.

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