Sunday, November 7, 2010

Handling Wet (Rustic) Bread Dough

I played around with trying to learn how to handle wet bread dough for ages. I asked other bakers, but never really "got" it until I saw how soupy the bread dough could be going into the oven, and how much the "oven spring" would influence the final matter how awful the bread looked when you pushed it into the oven. This is the type of bread that the fancy baking books refer to as high hydration. (hydration of 70% or more - meaning that the ratio of water is 70% or more of the weight of the flour in the recipe.....more like a paste than a dough.
                                                                                                                                                            Seeing is believing....Give it a try. You will have a blast with this dough.
It's fun to do and the taste and crumb structure is unbelievable. Great fresh, but it's sublime as
toast, (try it with lemon curd) garlic toast and bruschetta. Mmm, Mmm, Mmm..

I hope you may find this video helpful in understanding how to work with this crazy wet dough.

Also, here's a quick look at the finished product. I'll talk about recipes for this bread next post.

Amazing Neighbors if you love to bake bread, what would be the coolest thing that you could possibly imagine?
How about living up the street from a real wood fired bread oven and a neighbor who loves to share his hearth!!!!!!

I've had an opportunity now to not only get to bake a number of times in this incredible oven, but also to get to know a couple who share my love of bringing people together around food. What fun!!!!
The bread and pizzas are amazing and the added element of having someone who is a very accomplished baker to learn and bounce ideas off of is marvelous.  With Mike's coaching and encouragement, I have finally mastered, yes I can honestly say mastered, making the wet doughs that had eluded me for nearly two years.

When time permits, I will post some recipes and maybe a video or two that will show some of the technique involved in working with this ultra fun and delicious type of bread dough.