I'm here not questioning that a second rising of a wet dough is necessary. It is, or else you'll get what someone termed "elephant skin".

But I am baking a wet dough too frequently to appreciate a counter that needs cleaning so often.

Is there a way to second-rise a wet dough in the same container?


The basic steps (I use) are (ref):

  1. First Rise Mix (by a spoon works well; unlike a traditional drier dough, the heat from your fingers is not needed). Let rise/ferment for 12+ hours. I started with a flour:water weight ratio of 1:1, but that invariably remains too wet all the way. I'm working my way down and am at 10 parts flour to 9 parts water. I'm also working my way considerably up from what Jim Lahey @Sullivan St Bakery suggested, and am at 3/4 teaspoon dry yeast for each 400g flour (that's just under 1lb=453.6g) to get improved puffing with nice big pockets of air.
  2. Second Rise Pour on a floured clean surface. Shape (again, with your hands or with utensils). Fold to create seams where it will open (or else slice the top after pouring into the preheated container). Let rise for 1-3 hours.
  3. Baking Transfer the dough to a preheated closed heavy container. It's nice if you dust (flour, cornmeal, ..) on top.

The critical steps to save cleaning are "pour" and "transfer". Pouring (step 2) means to pour the dough as a lump. Transfering (step 3) means to carry the dough to the preheated baking vessel.

  • 1
    The same container as the first rise, or the same container as you bake it in? I've switched to a final rise in a loaf tin for my sourdough because I find that shape more convenient than a round loaf and transferring a risen ball into a rectangular tin knocks too much air out of it
    – Chris H
    May 4 at 10:35
  • But if you do want to rise on a flat surface, how about a large pastry board or rolling out mat, that can be taken away and washed up? My worktops are oiled oak and dough sticks to them like glue so working dough without an intermediate surface is really not an option in my kitchen
    – Chris H
    May 4 at 10:37
  • This question needs clarification. I often use one bowl for high hydration dough. Mix in the bowl, rest, reach in the same bowl to stretch and fold, rest, repeat. Bulk ferment, again in same bowl. Then you need to remove from bowl to shape and move to proofing container (is this what you call 2nd rise?)...so we need to know what you mean by "second rise."
    – moscafj
    May 4 at 19:17
  • 1
    @ChrisH (Homemade bread is an ideal way to carb-preload and to replenish glycogen stores; isn't it?) I tried using a plate or a glass cutting board for the second rise. But the difficulty here is sliding the dough off into the preheated dutch oven. I may still be using too wet a dough (9:10 water to flour) for this to work. 7:10 or 8:10 might be the answer.
    – Sam
    May 4 at 20:24
  • 1
    I never really mastered transferring into a hot container. Done well, I could invert the loaf from an oiled bowl into a Le Creuset, but I often aimed badly or an under-oiled spot caused it to stick and not drop well. Then I decided I wanted squarer slices, and switched to a loaf tine, lined with resuable non-stick sheet
    – Chris H
    May 4 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


Regardless of what you mean by "the same container", and of your definition of "wet" dough (your recipes only have 70 and 75% hydration, which is rather average) you cannot save yourself a cleaning step.

When you take out your dough for the second rising, you have to knead it - without a kneading in between, there is no "second rise" per definition. The only way to not having to clean anything would be if you would knead it in the container in which it was rising. And this won't work well for several reasons.

  • Container size/shape. To knead a ball of dough, you need a container which is noticeably wider than the ball of dough (or, instead of a container, a flat surface). But for rising dough, you need a container which is as wide as the ball. If it is too wide, you will have a huge surface for drying out, and the thin shape will also change its temperature too quickly, which is suboptimal.
  • Stickiness. You won't be able to take an overnight-risen ball of dough out of its container in one piece, there will be tiny pieces sticking to the bottom and walls. And before you start kneading, you have to prepare the kneading surface by flouring it. And the surface has to be clean - you cannot have small pieces of dough already sticking to it, or these will bind with the flour to make terribly hard pieces of dough, which then embed themselves into the bread dough, creating unpleasant lumps in the bread. So at this point, you would have to transfer the ball to a second container or surface, wash the first container, dry it, flour it, then knead the dough in it, then wash the second container/surface.

I cannot see a way to avoid the problems caused to stickiness - if you oil the container, it has to be clean and dry before that too, and if you raise the bread in flour, you will afterwards get too hard a bread if you do the intermediate knead in that flour. So, you do need a separate container for rising and a separate one for kneading.

  • Re: "you have to knead it" I'm not sure we're talking about the same process. The recipe I'm using is this (youtu.be/13Ah9ES2yTU). They called it "no knead bread", and it would be nice to truly avoid kneading altogether.
    – Sam
    May 4 at 20:29

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