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I followed this recipe for a quick "Danish" dough, at http://www.ezrapoundcake.com/archives/11051; scroll down to food processor dough.

The ingredients were:

1/4 CUP WARM WATER

1/2 CUP MILK, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

1 LARGE EGG, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

2 1/4 CUPS WHITE BREAD FLOUR

1 PACKAGE (1/4 OUNCE) RAPID-RISE YEAST OR 1 TABLESPOON FRESH YEAST

1 TEASPOON SALT

1 TABLESPOON SUGAR

1 CUP (2 STICKS) UNSALTED BUTTER, COLD, CUT INTO THIN SLICES

After following the recipe, when I went to roll out my dough it was quite wet and sticky. Even with moderate flouring on my counter and rolling pin, the dough was very spongy. It was not even close to something I could fold, as the recipe called for. I added at least an extra cup of flour in the end.

I am a beginner baker, so please bear that in mind.

What might I have done wrong? One thing about the recipe that troubled me is that the recipe said to let the dough get to room temperature after refrigerating overnight, before rolling out -- this made the butter softer so that when rolled it melted into the dough, but the even before the melting the dough looked way too wet.

(For what it's worth, I measured my flour packed so if anything I would have expected the dough to be a little too dry.)

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I would direct your attention to the last line of step 6 - "Expect to have a gooey mess with some butter lumps pebbling it." By this I would assume that the dough would be extremely wet and that is what you describe. When I'm rolling pastry I use a lot of table flour and then I have a soft brush to whisk the excess off after it's rolled. That way the dough doesn't stick to everything but you don't have a lot of dry flour in your layers. –  djmadscribbler Aug 2 '12 at 23:35
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Side note: What's quick about this recipe? (it calls for a 24h resting period). –  BaffledCook Aug 2 '12 at 23:56
    
@djmadscribbler Thanks for your response. Do you think roughly a cup (which is about 50% of what the recipe originally called for) would be an outrageous amount to add? I'm not sure what a "lot" means here, since I have only rolled dough a few times. I am worried that unless I fully incorporate the extra flour, and only (heavily) flour the counter and top and the rolling pin, then the inside will be far too moist to be able to fold. –  Roy Aug 3 '12 at 1:15
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2 Answers

When you have to deal with gooey dough, the thing that usually isn't mentioned is that the dough is easiest manipulated between two sheets of plastic film. Before clingfilm, they used polythene sheets, before that waxed paper. Cheffy secrets!

I don't get why this isn't working for you, the proportions look about right. I get the feeling that the dough should be left at room temperature to rise a little, but there's nothing to say how long to leave it or how much to let it rise.

I never liked Nigella's cooking anyway.

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Different flours (both in terms of brand and even batches of the same brand) have different levels of absorbency, so you often have to experiment a little with new baking recipes. I always need much more water than the recipes in my favourite bread book call for, for example.

The best thing to do is add more flour gradually until you are happy with the texture, then you will have a better idea next time of how much you will need.

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Next generation flour packaging: "Now 60% more absorbent!" –  Sobachatina Aug 3 '12 at 14:53
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New Pine Fresh Scent! –  ElendilTheTall Aug 3 '12 at 14:55
    
Weigh the flour before and after adding and then subtracting will give you the amount of flour added. Eg. you start with 1kg and end with 750g, so you've added 250g. –  BaffledCook Aug 3 '12 at 15:35
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