shaping sticky dough

My dinner roll recipe is a very wet dough, so it spends a long time in the fridge.  Once it’s removed from the fridge and I begin working with it, it will become very sticky very quickly.  So, here’s how I shape it:

I prep the work surface and pan before the dough comes out of the fridge.  That means:

  1. The surface is lightly floured, but I have a measuring cup of flour to the side just in case.
  2. I have a pizza cutting wheel next to the surface.
  3. I have the pan next to the surface.

I know I want a dozen-roll dough to be patted out into roughly a 12″ X 9″ rectangle.  So, I use a bench knife to cut a rectangle that size into the center of the floured work surface, as a visual reference.

I don’t fuck around when the dough comes out – I flour my hands, pull the dough out fast and begin stretching/patting the dough into the visual reference area.  There is about a two-minute window before the dough starts sticking to everything, so I don’t focus on exact measurements, just approximating the visual reference.

I use the pizza wheel to slice the dough, and eyeball the cuts to roughly the width and length of my index finger and thumb making an L shape 2″ wide, 4.5″ long.  If you have big hands, measure your L shape before you pull out the dough, and adjust accordingly.

Once the cutting is done, I fold each shape into thirds and place the rolls end-down on the pan.  Even when I work fast, the last pieces shaped will stick more to everything than the first, so I will flour my hands a bit more after shaping half the rolls.

Happy shaping!


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