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I started a plain 65% flour+water+poolish, mixed it up and left it to sit for a few hours before kneading. When I came back, I discovered I hadn't stirred all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Stirring it in after the fact, I now have horrible lurking lumps of flour that hardened into damp cement. They flatten and stretch when I squeeze them, but still don't incorporate evenly.

Is there a way to force them to incorporate, or do I chuck this 1kg of flour and start over?

Details:

  • 400g 50/50 bread flour poolish from my ongoing starter
  • 800g bread flour
  • 450g water
2

It's not a big deal, you can use it. Just add all the water for the next step of the process when you're ready and mix it up really well, getting the lumps out, then add the rest of the flour and other ingredients.

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1

What I did that fixed it: I added another 130g of water that night, along with the salt, and kneaded it into an even soup, massaging the flour lumps as often as I found them, then left it overnight to soak in the fridge. In the morning, the lumps were still there (I could not get them out), but I squeezed as many of them flat as I could. Then I added the corresponding 200g flour and kneaded much more aggressively than usual.

The result when I baked in the evening turned out ciabatta instead of French loaf (possibly gluten problems from weird time at high hydration), but the flour lumps were indeed gone.

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