It is often difficult to mix wetter doughs to adequate gluten development when using a planetary-type mixer (such as a Hobart or KitchenAid). One tactic that is effective is the following: When mixing the final dough, hold back a portion of the liquid (hold back more or less liquid depending upon the total hydration of the dough). This technique (called bassinage in French) can also be used with spiral mixers for wet doughs. The gluten will develop more readily in this drier dough environment. When the dough has attained the degree of strength you seek, turn off the mixer. Make an opening at the place where the dough hook enters the body of the dough. Pour the rest of the liquid into this hole, turn the mixer back on, and mix just until the liquid is incorporated. I find this to be an effective technique when I mix at home, not just for notoriously wet doughs like ciabatta, but for many other doughs as well, especially those whose hydration is above about 70 percent.
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