How to Handle Too Sticky Bread Dough After Rising

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When making bread, you start by combining the ingredients to make a soft dough. The dough will next be kneaded until it is elastic and smooth. This takes around eight to ten minutes.

After kneading it, put it in a bowl (see why a proofing basket isn’t essential), cover it, and set it aside for an hour and a half to two hours to rise.

At this point, you will punch the dough down, shape it into a loaf, and set it in a pan, where it will rise for another hour to an hour and a half before baking.

Unfortunately, your bread dough may get overly sticky along the route. To resolve this issue, you must pay close attention and identify it as soon as feasible. That being said, there are certain tricks you may do to make your bread less sticky while it bakes.

What Makes Bread Dough Too Sticky?

How to Handle Bread Dough That Is Too Sticky After Rising

Too much water in the dough is the most frequent cause of sticky bread dough.

There are many variables that influence how much water your flour absorbs, and if you live in a high-humidity area (see my recommendations for baking in high humidity), your flour may already be absorbing water before you add the water specified in the recipe.

The first thing you should do is hold back part of the water while mixing your components. Use around 60% of the recipe’s amount, and after kneading the dough until soft and smooth (don’t overdo it), gently add the remaining water a few drops at a time until the dough is the consistency you desire.

Another cause of stickiness is not mixing the dough long enough. You may prevent this issue if you mix the dough until it is smooth and springy.

Finally, if you use cold water instead of warm water in the recipe, your dough may become excessively sticky. Cold water may cause glutens to seep out, making your dough sticky. When mixing the components to produce your bread dough, be sure you use warm water.

How to Handle Sticky Bread Dough

If your dough is too sticky and adheres to everything, add a little flour to it. As you knead it, make sure your hands and work surface are lightly dusted with flour, and add a few tablespoons of flour at a time. This will remove the stickiness.

How to Handle Sticky Bread Dough After the First Rise

You may have previously combined and kneaded the dough without noticing it is overly sticky. You will have put it in the bowl for its initial rise at this point (do not miss this step).

You may still save your dough if you attempt to take it from the bowl and prepare it for its second rise and it sticks to everything.

The dough in the basin should double in size during the first rise. When it’s completed, take it out and press it down. This is vital because if it grows more than twice its original size, the gluten may stretch and collapse, making your dough overly thick.

You will not knead it again while preparing bread for the second rise. It’s called punching down, but it’s really a peaceful technique. You will gently push and deflate the dough with your fist.

You may use flour at this time. To press and stretch the dough, coat your fingers and the surface with flour.

You don’t want to knead the dough after the first rise because the dough can only rise so much and you don’t want to ruin what it’s already done since you can’t do it again. The glutens have a certain duty that they can do, but they cannot do it again.

You may push and stretch the dough, adding flour a little at a time, to make it less sticky before putting it in the oven for its second rise.

How to Handle Sticky Bread Dough After the Second Rise

You must fold the dough after punching it down to prepare it for the second rising. Again, flour your hands and workstation to keep the bread dough from getting too sticky.

If your bread dough becomes too sticky after the second rise, you will be unable to knead or punch it down. You may dust it with flour, then dust your hands with flour and form it as best you can to bake it. You may attempt to make it less sticky on the exterior this way, but the end result will be the same, more or less.

The key thing is to form the bread dough and get it into the oven, even if a tiny piece sticks to your hands.

If you’re using a loaf pan (which isn’t your only choice), this shouldn’t be an issue since you’ll generally leave the bread dough in the pan for the second rise before baking it. Sticky bread dough is tough to work with, but it will bake into a tasty loaf of bread.

If you get your dough through the first or second rise, it should be OK once baked. The good news is that many individuals claim that sticky bread dough may still turn out to be excellent once baked.

Sticky dough is generally wet, and the final result produces bread that is moist and light, and it rises nicely.

Check out my post on bread making techniques and tricks for additional information.


What do you do if your bread dough is too sticky?

If the dough becomes too sticky and difficult to work with, add a bit more flour at a time. Make careful to weigh the excess flour you add so you can properly alter the recipe the next time you bake.

Why is my bread dough so sticky after rising?

Coat your hands and work surfaces with flour if your bread is sticky after the first rise. To attempt to dry out the dough, add little quantities of flour throughout the punching down and folding stages. If your bread is still sticky after the second proof, flour your hands and work surfaces as you shape it.

Does kneading dough make it less sticky?

The more you knead a regular loaf, the less sticky it gets. Dough is usually moist and sticky at first, but after five to six minutes of kneading, it gets less sticky and more glossy as it forms a skin, which is the gluten developing.

Can you save over proofed dough?

The good news is that we discovered a simple technique to save overproofed dough. Simply punch it down gently, reshape it, and proof it again for the appropriate period. These processes produced bread that tasters rated satisfactory in both texture and flavor in the test kitchen.

Can you knead dough after it rises?

Yes. After the first rise, softly knead the dough to remove some of the gas that forms air bubbles. If you want your dough to be flat and thick, or if you want bread with a close crumb, like sourdough, skip this stage.

What does tacky dough look like?

The dough is sticky if it pulls up with your hand and then releases (so your hand comes away clean). It’s sticky if you wind up with dough glued to your hand.

What is Overproofed dough?

Overproofed dough will not expand much while baking, nor will underproofed dough. Overproofed doughs collapse owing to a weaker gluten structure and excessive gas generation, while underproofed doughs do not produce enough carbon dioxide to sufficiently expand the dough.

Why is my dough still sticky after stretch and folds?

Too Young for a Sourdough Starter

Dough produced from a young sourdough starter simply will not grow. Rather of strengthening with each stretch and fold, it will remain extremely moist and sticky. The yeast and bacteria will not grow or alter no matter how long you allow it to ferment.

Is it okay for dough to be sticky?

When you begin kneading the bread dough, it should be sticky and damp. Everyone in my workshops is encouraged to embrace the stickiness! When water is initially added to flour, it takes some time for the flour to absorb it entirely, making the dough more stickier.

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