It is difficult to handle very wet dough as can be seen in baking ciabattas which usually is at 80% hydration. I wanted to see if I could manage higher hydrations just for the experience.

So I started quite late in the afternoon just after 3 pm and finished at past 10 pm. This is what I did,

 Ingredients: Total flour 500g.

  1. 100g Japanese Bread flour (20%)
  2. 50g Whole Wheat flour (10%)
  3. 350g Bread flour (70%)
  4. 430g water (86% hydration)
  5. 10g salt (2%)
  6. 1/4 tsp dried yeast.


Mix the flours in a large bowl.  Add in and mix thoroughly 400g of water, and allow autolysis for 2 hours. To the remaining 30g water, I added the 1/4 tsp dried yeast, and after the autolysis, mixed this yeasted water into the dough. Rest the dough for 30 mins, and then sprinkle the salt over the dough. Pinch the salt in, following this with a stretch and fold of the dough. Repeat sets of stretch and folding every 30 mins for the next 3 hours. 

 When done, transfer the dough on to a well floured surface, re-shape and rest the dough for 20 mins. 

Do a final shaping into a boule, and place this in a well floured banneton. Cover with a plastic bag and let it sit in the fridge for 15 hours for cold bulking.

Next day, I removed the dough from the baneton onto baking parchment, made a slash over the dough surface, and immediately transferred this into a hot Dutch oven which was heated to 250˚C. Bake with cover on for 30 mins, and then remove the cover and further bake at 230˚C for 15 to 20 mins.

Remove and cool the loaf on a metal rack.

This is the wet dough after mixing in water. Appears yellowish due to the Japanese flour.

The wet dough with the additional water and yeast mixture, at 86% hydration.

After 6 sets of stretch and folds, the dough is manageable, and can be shaped into a boule!

The benneton heavily floured with rice flour.

Just before placing the shaped boule in the floured banneton into the fridge for 15 hours of cold bulking.

Next morning, after 15 hours in the fridge, the boule comes off the banneton easily. It’s given a slash before placing it into the hot Dutch Oven.

The loaf of bread after baking with the Dutch Oven covered at 250˚C for 30 mins; and then with the DO cover off at 230˚C for 12-15 mins.

Showing the oven rise, the thin crispy crust and the soft, airy, fairly opened crumb.

A close-up to show the nature of the crumb. Note the thin crust.

” Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”     

James Beard