Bread bakers are a calm, serene, zen-like bunch. (Right?!)
But nothing gets us more paranoid than the fear of adding too much flour: too little and we have bubble-gum dough sticking to everything, too much and we've got a hockey puck.
Here's a quick tip we came across recently to help us find that perfect balance!
Have your extra flour in a shallow bowl next to your workspace.
As the dough gets too sticky to work with, dip your palms into the flour and continue kneading. Presto!
Just enough flour will stick to your hands that you'll be able to work with the dough again. The flour will gradually transfer from your hands and get absorbed into the dough.
Do this whenever the dough gets too gummy. You'll probably find that you need frequent 'dips' in the first five minutes or so, and then you'll taper off as your dough reaches a balance.
You're adding the extra flour so incrementally that you're never risking adding too much at once and going beyond the tipping point. Plus, we find this a lot less messy than picking up a measuring cup with sticky fingers and sprinkling flour everywhere!
What other tips do you have for adding the "just right" amount of flour?
Related: Beginner Sourdough Loaf
(Image: Flickr member Witigonen licensed under Creative Commons)