making slack dough bread

When it comes to bread making, how slack is too slack?? I have just spent over half an hour cleaning up bits of dough from 3 bowls, pots and pans, every aspect of the food processor, the kneading board, rubber scraper… (need I go on? I think you get the picture).

I decided yesterday that I wanted to make Pan Bigio. I put together the biga last night and early this morning mixed the dough together. After letting it autolyse for 30 minutes or so, I placed poured the dough onto the kneading board. There it lay shuddering like porridge.

I started kneading it and then thought, “Why not use the food processor? This isn’t too heavy for it!” I was a little nervous, considering our recent expensive loaf of bread but decided it was foolish to worry. Using the dough scraper, I somehow maneuvred the sludge into the food processor (hmmm, I wonder if that’s too full??) and started pulsing. Well maybe that was too much dough… with difficulty, I spooned about half into yet another bowl. More pulsing. Then I ran the processor on slow. Now I had very smooth porridge. Clearly this wasn’t making much difference. I poured the food processor contents back onto the kneading board (who was the ninny who left the dough scraper on the board?!) and using the rubber scraper, added the contents of the bowl to that on the board. And I hand-kneaded for 15 minutes. That sludge was puddled into the rising bowl.

And then the cleanup began. Dough everywhere!! Who writes those ads that say what a breeze it is to clean food processors? I need to have a serious chat with them. As I was rinsing and scraping and muddling even more sludgy dough from various surfaces (including my forehead!!) I suddenly wondered if I had put in 3 or 4 cups of allpurpose flour to make up for the fact that I had only put in 1 cup of wholewheat instead of 2. RATS!! I scattered a cup of flour on the now clean kneading board and poured over it the sludge out of the rising bowl. I kneaded it all in, muddled the dough into the rising bowl, covered it and left it in the oven (light on) to rise to triple.

I’m just going to shape the risen dough now. Wish me luck.

5 responses to “making slack dough bread

  1. Moira

    You are an amazing! I’ve never made a biga, and certainly wouldn’t have been too thrilled to work with that dough OR trudge through that cleanup. It BETTER turn out fantastic!

  2. ejm

    Biga is easy easy easy. That was not the reason for the difficulties, Moira. It was leaving out a cup of flour. Don’t get discouraged by my food processor woes from trying to bake this Italian loaf! Apparently, it’s pretty simple to make with a stand mixer. (We still don’t have one of those.)

    Thanks for the good luck wishes, Barbara. They worked. The dough was a little difficult to shape because I decided to make one huge loaf. But it puffed up beautifully and I even managed to score it. It’s too bad we don’t have a camera because the baked loaf looks spectacular (if I do say so myself). We still haven’t tasted it. We’re taking it to friends’ house tonight for dinner. I’ll report later.

  3. ejm

    I wondered what noun was being described with that “amazing”. (I suspected it wasn’t the perjorative words I was assigning to myself as I was pulling dough away from every surface in the kitchen.)

    It won’t take nearly as long to knead with the mixer and will probably be much easier to do. Carol Field says after it pulls mostly away from the side of the bowl (she says it won’t pull away entirely), switch to the dough hook and go a full 5 minutes at medium speed and then finish it off on the board by handkneading with plenty of flour til it’s smooth. The dough will still be pretty floppy. I shape it and put it on parchment paper and then for baking, slide the parchment paper (and the shaped loaf) into the oven. When I turn the bread around half way through baking, I generally pull the parchment paper out of the oven, but it’s not necessary.

    Give it a shot! I don’t think you’ll regret it….

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