There are plenty of situations in which bread that you’re making may still be gooey, sticky, or gummy after it has been removed from the oven – that’s just the truth.
Your bread may still be sticky after baking if it has been underbaked, has too much water in it, or has had problems with gluten development in the dough.
In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the causes of what makes this happen, as well as how to sort it out if it does happen.
How Do You Fix Gooey Bread?
Gooey bread can be gooey for a number of reasons. Most of the time, however, it is because the bread is too wet for some reason, or the gluten level is off.
If the bread that you’re making is too wet, then it’s due to a problem with the oven, most likely. This problem could be that there is too much steam in the oven due to your dough having an especially high hydration level – you can fix this by opening the door for a few moments to release steam.
The oven could also just not be hot enough. If this is the case, then you’ll need to write off the loaf that you have made, and remember to increase the temperature for the next one. The internal temperature of a loaf of bread needs to reach 180-200˚C in order for it to be fully cooked.
This gets to our final point on temperature – your bread may not be done yet. If you take the temperature of the bread and it isn’t within the window we mentioned just above, then you can put it back in the oven to cook for a few more minutes.
If the gluten level in your dough is off, then a couple of things can happen.
On one end of the scale, your gluten level could be too low. This would likely be due to the loaf that you’re making being under-proofed. You cannot solve this problem if the loaf has already been baked, but you can remember for next time – always make sure to proof your bread fully.
On the other end of the scale, you can have too much gluten as well! A dough having too much gluten is often because of the gluten content of the flour, something that you can’t really control. If you’ve found a recipe online and used a different flour than the recipe suggests, that increased gluten content can contribute to a gummy texture. Sadly, there is no way to fix this other than to use a different flour next time.
How Do You Reset Bread After Baking?
Sadly, there is no way to ‘reset’ bread after you have taken it out of the oven and found it to be sticky, gummy, gooey, or otherwise not desirable. The only thing that we can do in that situation is throw away the doughy loaf, learn from our mistakes, and move on. That’s the best thing about baking – there will always be another loaf or bread, or another cake, and you can always learn how to correct your mistakes for the next time.
Does Kneading Dough Make It Less Sticky?
Yes, it does!
When you first make bread dough, it will likely be very sticky. After all, you’ve made a wet paste of (mostly) flour and water – it will certainly be sticky. However, upon kneading the bread for a short while, you will likely see that the bread will become less sticky!
The reason that this happens is that gluten develops during the course of normal kneading, meaning that skin will form on the outside of your dough.
This is completely normal, and actually encouraged! As the dough rises due to the yeast, it will put pressure on itself due to the taut nature of the skin of the loaf, developing even more gluten. This is a really interesting process, and can make for exceptionally cool loaves of bread!
It is worth saying that there are some no-knead recipes out there that rely on the strength of yeast to develop gluten. A large proportion of these recipes are overnight recipes, meaning that they prove for a very long time.
Gluten will be developed during that proving stage by the yeast fermenting and producing gas bubbles that stretch out the dough itself. You do not have to knead these types of dough, but you may have to turn them out and roughly shape them before baking them.
What happens if you add too much water to bread dough?
Well, that’s a tricky question.
There is no ‘optimum hydration’ for all loaves of bread, instead, there is simply what some bakers prefer to others. Some bakers prefer bread with very high hydration levels which are almost internally steamed, and others prefer drier loaves which, when they come out of the oven and are sliced, are often firmer and denser.
However, there is an optimum window of hydration. Eventually, you can add too much water to bread, and you’ll be making something closer to soup than a loaf of bread. In this case, the flour will be extremely overhydrated. The bread itself will be weighed down by the water and, no matter how strong you make the ball of dough, this will result in the bread itself being much flatter as it will not be able to hold its shape. We’ve all had experiences of bread that come out closer to a discus than a proper loaf, and this is the cause – a loaf that cannot hold its own weight.
How to make the dough less sticky without flour?
There is only really one way to make the dough less sticky without flour, and that’s to knead it well, and for quite a long time. A lot of people might not know the proper way to knead bread, so we’re going to talk about it here
If you’re starting out with a ball of dough in your mixing bowl and a lightly floured counter, then you’re already ahead of the game and ready to go! First, begin by turning out your bread dough onto the countertop. Position the ball in a comfortable position, and make sure to get anything that you don’t want messy out of the way.
Start by placing your hand over the top of the ball – gently press down and away from yourself with the ball of your hand so that you have a slightly oblong shape. Think the rough shape of naan bread.
With your hand still pressing into the dough, gently grip the stretched end, and lift it back onto itself, forming a ball that, while stretched and folded onto itself, is still roughly ball-shaped.
Pick up the entire ball of dough and then turn it ninety degrees either left or right. The direction doesn’t matter, but make sure to keep the direction consistent for every turn that you make.
After turning the dough by ninety degrees, repeat the first step by pressing the palm of your hand down and away from yourself. This has the effect of not only stretching out the dough but also pressing together the part that you just stretched, making it reconnect with the body of the ball itself.
Continue this process for roughly ten minutes. You can overwork bread dough, so make sure that you don’t continue to a point where your dough is tough and hard to work with – this will result in an unpleasantly dense loaf.
After you’ve kneaded for a while, skin will start to form on the dough. This is due to gluten developing within the dough, and will lead to the loaf being less sticky! While it isn’t quite as fast or clean as simply adding more flour to your dough, it will work given time.
Why is my homemade bread so dense?
There are a number of reasons why a loaf of bread that you’ve made in your home could be too dense, but the main three are improper kneading, yeast problems, or being underbaked.
Kneading is the stage in which gluten development happens the most quickly. If you properly and efficiently knead a ball of dough, then you will get a loaf that is well-risen and has an excellent crumb. This is because gluten provides the structural support for a loaf of bread, meaning that any air bubbles created are supported by that gluten. If there is no gluten in the bread, then air bubbles will simply pop, leading to a dense loaf of bread.
A problem with your yeast will simply mean that carbon dioxide is not produced during the process of baking. This may be because you’ve mixed the yeast with salt, or the yeast is out of date. If carbon dioxide is not produced by the yeast, then it will not be available during baking to support a good rise in the loaf.
An underbaked loaf will be dense because, simply, the middle of the loaf is still dough. This means that it has a lot more water per gram than the other portions of the loaf, and may actually still be a little liquid – this is much denser than the surrounding portions of bread, as it is undercooked.
To conclude, there are a number of different reasons why your homemade bread may be particularly dense. The good news is that for every mistake your might make in the kitchen, there are a dozen learning opportunities. Armed with these little pieces of knowledge and ready to go, have a great time making your next loaf – happy baking!