Wet and sticky dough advise please


I made a bread today with a recipe I got of a german forum. To give you a few more details, here are the ingredients I used:

Sponge: 400g white breadflour, 400ml water and 100ml  Wholemeal Sourdough starter. I left this in the airing cupboard for 14hrs. Was very active!

Today I added 600g strong white flour and 200g of Ryeflour, 550ml water, 28g of salt.


I know this is supposed to be wet and sticky, but I didn't quite expect how sticky the dough was. I found it rather unmanageable. Because of this I probably didn't knead it long enough for the gluten to stretch. My sourdough is quite active and I think I might have left it too long to rise too, which  contributed to the end result.

The bread ended up flat. I would like to make this one again as it tastes fantastic, with a lovely crust and medium sized airholes. Just a bit flat LOL

 How on earth do you manage to knead a wet and sticky dough like this long enough??? Please help!

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sourfish 2009 November 5

 There is a french method of kneading (and I believe there is a video of it on this site) where you lift the dough, stretch it and then fold it back on top of itself. I use this method to make ciabatta with a > 90% hydration with great success. 

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 November 5

Either that ^, or, what I do is stretch and fold every 45 mins or so. Just made a pair of ciabattas today doing that.



redd_angel55 2009 November 6

for the replies. I've just watched the video, but my dough was a LOT more sticky then that! My hands tripled in size trying to knead it. It just stuck to everything.

sourfish 2009 November 6

 It sounds like you need to add more water; rye and whole wheat flour tends to 'stick' to your hands, if you stretch and fold quickly, over time as the gluten develops it will stick to itself rather than you - just persevere. 

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2009 November 6

 ... or wet your hands with water or oil and just kind of flop it over itself, then let it sit for about 10 mins, give it another few flops (with wet or oiled hands), let it sit, then ditto with the flopping.  I also use a dough scraper to help  with this so your hands don't turn into the michelin man quite so much! Then chuck the "dough" in a container or lidded bowl for about 1/2 hour then stretch and fold a few times over a few hours.  Check out this blog for some photos of my wet dough I made lovely rolls with last weekend.  i seriously thought I was going to end up with baked porridge, but its amazing what a bit of time and folding does!  Although that said, my dough didn't have any rye flour, and that is super STICKY and quite different to other flours, so that might change things a bit. 200g isn't that much, not sure how it will affect it.

Do you have a link to the forum you got the recipe from?


redd_angel55 2009 November 6

Hi, thank you all so much for your help. I really love this bread, the taste and texture is fantastic and yes I do have a link:


It's all in german though, not sure if this is any good for you.

Karniecoops: Had a look at your blog, Wow, your rolls look great! The dough is very similar to the one I "tried" to make. I'll not give up, I am inspired by your ciabatta's now ;-)

Sourfish: Now that you mentioned the extra water, I remembered that I added more flour when I mixed the ingredients. Oops, I just thought it might help with the stickiness a bit. Ok, then it's not the dough's fault, but mine. I will stick to the quantities and stretch and fold more with wet/oiled hands next time.

Will keep you updates of further disasters LOL

Angela x





Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2009 November 7

kein problem Angela, meine Deutsche ist nicht schlect!  Jetzt bin Ich in urlaub, so hoffentlich, Ich werde ein bischen seit haben zu probieren eure rezept! (ok so my written german is like getting blood out of a stone!)

There are a lot of recipes on that website - what was it called do you remember?

Bis gleich, KC.

redd_angel55 2009 November 8


kein problem Angela, meine Deutsche ist nicht schlect!  Jetzt bin Ich in urlaub, so hoffentlich, Ich werde ein bischen seit haben zu probieren eure rezept! (ok so my written german is like getting blood out of a stone!)

There are a lot of recipes on that website - what was it called do you remember?

Bis gleich, KC.


Dein deutsch ist sehr gut!

It;s called "Alltagsbrot", half way down the thread, there is another variation of the recipe, the one I made. Yes, there are lots of lovely recipes on there. Lots with different seeds and so called exotic flours (only exotic because you can't get them in the UK ;-)


Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2009 November 11

Hopefully I've found the same recipe you used (posted by ElkeCarola?).  The recipe she posted had 400g white and 400g rye flour in the final dough.  You used the same total weight of flour but changed the ratios slightly (more white less rye).  But you kept with the same amount of water she used.  You also used a 50/50 white preferment, and she used 50/50 rye preferment - so once again her starter would have been less wet than yours as the rye would have soaked up more water.

Rye flour soaks up way more water than white flour, so with changing the weights of flour used and using a wet white starter, you could have done with a bit less water in the dough.  So your stickiness was probably due to a bit much water.  Sorry but I'm not clever enough to tell you how much less water you should have used.  The recipe looks great though, so perhaps give your version a go holding back some of the water and add a bit back in if needed, or make it her way for starters, so you get the feel of how her dough feels then try your way again.

If you think its hard getting "exotic" flours in the UK, try living in NZ! :o)

Viel glueck und alles gute! KC.

redd_angel55 2009 November 11

Thank you, now that you mentioned the extra water, it does make sense. I'll give it a go and yes, it's ElkeCarola's recipe.

Ahhh......NZ!!! We would love to live there, but just as we were about to investigate the visa application, the Australian and NZ government has put a hold on Visa's! My friend was in the final stages of applying to go to Oz, but has to wait til 2012 now :o)


I've got a tendency to want to run before I can walk and then fall flat on my face haha. I am practising with an easier, basic recipe, but the "Alltagsbrot" is not forgotten.

Angela x

maltybob 2009 November 20

sounds like a little too much water

and if you find dough sticking to your hands try rubbing olive oil on your hands before handling the dough

and dont knead the dough too much? sometimes less is more

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