Shaping and Baking Bread

Shaping:

This is the best video I’ve seen for shaping bread so far.  I use a method very similar to this one:  Shaping Sourdough Loaves

  1. Start by flouring surface and stretching bread into square.
  2. Fold corners in one at a time.IMG_1020 IMG_1021 IMG_1022
  3. Fold corners in again.IMG_1023 IMG_1024 IMG_1025
  4. Fold entire piece in half.IMG_1026 IMG_1027 IMG_1028 IMG_1029
  5. Place seams side down in a proofing container that has been dusted with a 50-50 blend of rice flour and all purpose flour.
  6. IMG_1030IMG_1031IMG_1032
    IMG_1051

Once the bread is shaped, I place it seam DOWN in a wooden proofing basket, which can be found here.  Proofing can happen in 1-2 hours, or for a better loaf, cover it in plastic and refrigerate overnight.  When you go to bake, take it out of the fridge 2 hours before baking to re-warm.

 

Baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 500degF with your baking vessel inside.  My favorite shape is a Bâtard because it slices into sandwich/french toast bread very easily.  The vessel of choice is a clay baker with lid.IMG_1060IMG_1067
  2. Once the oven has hit temp, pull out the baker, transfer the loaf in carefully (don’t just dump it in) placing it seam side down.  Slash with a bread lame in your favorite pattern and put the lid on, then back in the oven, lowering the oven temperature to 450degF.IMG_1073 IMG_1080 IMG_1081
  3. Bake for 20 minutes with the lid ON, then take the lid off and bake 25 minutes longer.IMG_1097
  4. Remove and let rest, and slice2014-01-31 18.31.38

Storage:

Your bread will be fine for a day, if it survives that long.  If after several hours you are too full, slice it the rest of the way (in a method that will fit in your toaster), place in a freezer-proof container, and freeze.  When you want bread, pull out a slice, put it in your toaster and it will retain 70-80% of its “day of baking” character.

 

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