My dough is sticky

I just finished the Pizza Bible, loved it and could not wait to try the dough. I have a good digital scale and measured everything very accurately.

The dough did not stick to the bowl of my KA mixer and there was no dry flour left in the bowl. I used the exact amount of Gr that Tony call for in the recipe .When I took the dough out of the mixer bowl, it was very sticky. And when I say sticky, I mean sticky, not tacky. I stuck to my hands like glue. When I tried to work with it on my stainless steel counter , it stuck to my hands also. If this had been one of my regular dough mixes, I would have added more flour to the KA bowl. Since this was my first time using this recipe, I wanted to stick as close to Tony's numbers as possible and didn't add flour or water.

Even after the 24 hours bulk fermentation in the fridge, I had a hard time making balls to put back in the fridge. Also, I could not have used a Dough box because the balls would have run together. I put them in individual plastic containers.

I'm thinking, I need to add more flour when I mix it in the KA until the dough is not sticky. I don't think it makes any difference, but I live at 5500 ft elevation.
Another problem I might have is, I live in Mexico and I cannot get "00" flour.
I'm using the best flour that I can get that most high end Mexican bakers use with the most Protein.
Is there a good rule of thumb to use on what the dough should feel like coming out of the mixer bowl. Use finger test, sticky, just tacky, not sticky at all, etc. I'm nowhere near a pizza expert, but hopefully not a complete dummy. I have a wood fired oven and have made many Pizza's over the last year. I know dough is easier to work with if you wet, flour or oil your hands your hands. Almost all of these thousand dough recipe's he talks about that are on the internet or in books mention their idea of how to work the dough.
Tony says nothing in his book about using extra flour, water, or oil on your hands or how to tell if you need more water or flour added to your mixer due to inconsistency of flour.
I've been using Peter Reinharts dough recipes and he says right in the recipe to add oil to the working surface and wipe oil on your hands.
i just went to the fridge and checked the dough balls and they are still very sticky when I stick my finger in the dough.
Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance

Ron W.
posted almost 5 years ago

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Would you say the dough is sticky compared to other batches of dough you've made in the past? Or, is it sticky in the sense that it's just hard to work with?

The dough from the Master class recipe in the book is 63% hydration. That is, for every 63 grams of liquid (water and oil), there's 100 grams of flour/malt/salt/yeast.

Dough at 60% hydration is pretty easy to work with. As you increase the level of hydration, it gets harder and harder to work with. Each percent makes a difference. Part of this is practice. As you work with wetter dough, it gets easier and easier.

Using wet fingers reduces the amount of sticking when forming balls, etc. When you shape the dough, be sure to use enough flour. It will make your life easier. But try not to use too much flour. It's a delicate balance.

Generally speaking, with wetter dough, you get a crispier, airier crust. The increased amount of water results in steam during the baking process. I'd be curious to know how the end result turns out. It might feel difficult to work with, but it doesn't mean it won't turn out great.

Good Luck!

Thumb raji
Raj Irukulla admin
posted almost 5 years ago

I used the Pendleton Power flour and also followed the recipe precisely . My dough felt like you describe. I wet my fingers when forming the balls and all went well. Haven't open the db yet, but soon. I may be incorrect, but wonder if Tony doesn't figure that most of use have some prior dough handling experience and we will figure out what is needed. Peter's books are good and we all learn from different teachers.


- Mark   almost 5 years ago

See my updated post.
Dough was very, very sticky and stuck to my hands like glue.

Ron W.
posted almost 5 years ago

It sounds like the flour might be the big variable here. It's definitely ok to use more flour when you're shaping the dough. See how the pizzas come out with the current batch. For your next batch you can try reducing the amount of water so that you're at 60% hydration. Hopefully it'll be easier to work with.

On page 30 of the book, in section 4, there's mention of using flour while shaping your dough. This might make things a bit easier since your dough sounds like it's on the wet side.

Thumb raji
Raj Irukulla admin
posted almost 5 years ago

Flour is the most important ingredient when it comes to making dough. Thats the reason I mentioned specific flours. I do not know the flour your are using. Flours fluctuate with absorption. As I said flour is the heart and sole of pizza. The water % in this book are not that high where your dough would be super tacky so something doesn't sound right and it may be the flour or if it's very humid in your area. Was your water temp to high? I would really start buying flours that I recommend if possible. Let me know how it goes, you should have better luck . Which dough recipe did you use? A rule of thumb if your dough is really tacky you can add flour but very little. If it's super tacky from this book and it's recipes the. Something is wrong. The Sicilian dough recipe should be tacky because of the hydration and that's why I show the stretch and fold
Method in the book

Tony Gemignani admin
posted almost 5 years ago

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