Dumb beginners question

Joined Dec 29, 2007

I tried to make bread for the first time and all i get was a watery sticky paste that was pretty useless, im trying to use a dough blade attachement in a food processor.

Heres what i did

2 cups white flour, 2 cups whole wheat flour, salt, 3 tablespoons butter in the mixer

1/3 cup warm water with yeast disolved with sugar

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add 1 cup cold water to the yeast.

When i put the food processpr on and added the water yeast it seemed to go from very dry and powdery to a sticky gooey wet paste all of a sudden, it did not look anything like dough and it was very hard to get it out of the bowl !!!

Any advise on what i screwed up please

I did substitute 2 cups of whole wheat flour for all purpose in the recipe, would that affect it ?


Joined Dec 12, 2009
hi Alan,

i feel your pain. it's been over 2 years now since i started baking bread and the learning curve was quite frustrating to deal with. chewed through plenty of leaden doorstops. and i never had the benefit of a machine so hand-kneaded everything. i can see why some bakers i know have back problems. but nothing like hand-kneading to really get a feel for dough.

there are many doughs that are quite wet and gloopy, namely the artisan breads. but your recipe has butter so probably not. the dough will usually start out as a sticky, gooey mess. after processing for awhile, it should come together and start to clear the side of the bowl of the processor. also, i don't know the proper procedure for using the food processor. is there a special dough blade for this? are you just pulsing? i'm guessing that you added cold water because the food processor tends to overheat batter. believe there's a desired temperature for the dough around 75-80ºF for proper gluten formation so it can't be too cold.

one step that might help is to autolyse the dough. just let it sit for 15 minutes or so, allowing the flour to absorb the liquid, before mixing. this helps me when i hand-knead as it relaxes the gluten and allows me to work with the dough and not struggle with it so much.

and you will most likely need a scale. 1 cup of flour is anywhere from 3.5 oz to 6 oz, depending on how you scoop it and how sifted the flour is; weight measurement is the way to go. the reason why your dough was so wet is that possibly you were scooping amounts on the lower end of the spectrum of the volume measurement.

here's a link to a recipe for loaf bread that's fairly easy and very good and 100% whole wheat. there's a video that goes with it so you can almost see what the dough looks like. skip to 2:45 as he spends the beginning milling his wheat berries.

100% whole wheat loaf bread

i don't think the substitution of WW for the all-purpose is the reason for the wetness of your dough, but there are so many variables that could go wrong. my best advice is that you stick to one recipe and perfect it before you experiment. good luck, Alan, and i hope you stick to bread baking despite the many mistakes along the way. just imagine the smell of your kitchen with freshly baked bread!

p.s. i highly recommend Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice"
Joined Oct 19, 2009
If it's too sticky, add less water. As BDL I'm sure will say; add water gradually until it no longer sticks to the bowl and forms a ball, don't pour it all in.

Recipes always yield different results unless all ingredients, down to the brand, are identical. Play it by eye, and I would reccommend mixing by hand until you get the hang of this; your hands will be a much better tool for you here.

As a general rule; knead for 15 minutes + by hand or 10 minutes by mixer, before proofing.
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