The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How does one go from "en couche" to "out of couche"?

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logdrum's picture
logdrum

How does one go from "en couche" to "out of couche"?

I finally have gotten around to trying my hand at final fermenting en couche & certainly can appreciate the added structure, but I am having a difficult time getting the baguettes out of the cloth & onto the peel. I tried using parchment during the final proof, but it tends to stick to the sides of the loaf. My last batch rose well, but unloading was frustrating. Any tips?


 


-d

LindyD's picture
LindyD

You can always spritz a bit of oil on the sides of the parchment you're concerned will touch the bread, then rub it into the parchment.  That will keep it from sticking.


When the final fermentation is finished, slide the parchment and bread to your peel and into the oven.


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you are proofing your loaves on parchment, you can bake them on the parchment. Just transfer the parchment to your baking stone, if you use one, with a peel or a cookie sheet. The bread will stick to the parchment until the parchment is heated. Heat activates the non-stick feature. This takes 10-15 minutes in the oven.


If you use a linen couche, rub flour into it before placing the loaves on it. When they are ready to bake, transfer them to your peel with a "transfer peel," also known as a "flipping board." This is a thin, fairly rigid board usually about 4 X 15 inches which is dusted with flour. The "flipping technique" can be described, if needed. I've seen some videos of this on you-tube, but they move pretty fast.


I hope this helps. If you have more questions, please ask.


David

logdrum's picture
logdrum

I'm thinking of getting a 1/4" plank of basswood from the hobby store. Do I need to treat it in any way?


 


-d

LindyD's picture
LindyD

No need for treatment - just slip a knee-high hosiery over the board and you're good to go.


In fact, you don't even need to buy basswood.  A piece of stiff cardboard works just as well and has a better price tag: free.

logdrum's picture
logdrum

I love the inventive spirit around this place.


 


-d

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

Here's a quick sketch I just did which should help illustrate the process. 



 


One thing to really be sure of is that your couche is well floured before you place the dough on it so the wet dough doesn't stick when you're trying to remove it. So rub in plenty of flour into your material. I've found that a mix of half bread flour and half rice flour works really great.  Don't remove the flour from the couche when you're all done. Let it dry (it will have absorbed a little of the moisture from the dough) then carefully fold the couche, flour and all, and put it away. You won't need to add much flour next time. 


For a flip board, you want something thin and easy to handle, I use a 2-foot piece of excess laminate floor plank since it's thin, light and has a very durable surface (and I happen  to have some). But a length of pine board would do as well. 

logdrum's picture
logdrum

Thank you, that is exactly what I was searching for. 


 


-d

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Expand this and include it in the TFL handbook!


David

Floydm's picture
Floydm

That is a nice illustration.

utahcpalady's picture
utahcpalady

Hey, I second that montion on putting it in the handbook.  it is a great illustration.  One that clearly shows what to do!

suzzee100's picture
suzzee100

It never occurred to me to do it this way - I too was struggling with it. Wonderful illustration & my new way of doing it! Thanks!

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Very, very nice illustration.  I don't know if you work professionally at making diagrams in the publishing world, but you ought to be.


I would respectfully disagree, though, with one aspect of handling the used couche.  Leaving the flour stuck to the couche and immediately folding it for storage is risky for two reasons:


1)The residual moisture left by the raw loaves provides an environment for mold growth.  Depending upon your particular location, you might not see this happen right away, but eventually, it often will -- especially if you don't use the couche every day and the dough residue gets lots of time to itself.  Shaking out the flour (usually outdoors) and sometimes touching up the cloth with GENTLE scraping of stuck particles is SOP.  Pro shops usually drape the cloths over the rails on a speedrack, or enterprising operators install a series of hinged rods (like a pasta drying rack -- just bigger) near their oven to dry the cloths after cleaning.


2)The second big concern is insect infestation.  I suppose ants or roaches could be drawn to the flour as a food source, but the most frequently seen bugs are called  "weevil" or flour beetles (very tiny -- 1/8th inch) and Indian meal moths (half an inch or so).   Their eggs are often already present in flour or grain before you buy it (ugh!).   Readers may have found the tiny beetles (especially) in their sugar bin, or in a package of flour or cornmeal that hasn't been used in a while.


They'll hatch if left undisturbed in the "host" flour or meal for some months in a tolerable climate.  So a couche that's covered in flour and not used every day is an ideal environment for them.  You can read more about them here:


http://unexco.com/storprod.html


I'm guessing that in Ontario they're not as much of a problem as here in the lower 48, due to longer winters and shorter summers, but I'm not sure.


Anyway, congrats again on an outstanding illustration.


--Dan DiMuzio

leschnei's picture
leschnei

When I was young, my mother used to put her pastry cloth into the freezer immediately after finishing, to avoid the problems that you described. It works very well as long as you remember that a frozen couche will absorb water from the air very quickly. Let it warm up completely before opening the container that it's stored in!

jannrn's picture
jannrn

This is an AWESOME illustration!! Thank you for sharing that.....now....Theres a TFL Handbook?????


I WANT ONE!!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

The TFL Handbook is in front of you - just click on the Handbook link at the top of the page.  


Lots of other good stuff up there.

jannrn's picture
jannrn

Well....will wonders never cease!! If I ONLY had EYES!!!! This site is one of the 2 things I do as soon as I log onto my computer each day....and MANY times during the day when I'm not working.....I feel like a total IDIOT!! Thank you Lindy!! I have turned SO many friends onto this site and EVERY day it gets better and better for me!!! THANK YOU and THANK YOU FLOYD!!!!!
Jannrn

Arbyg's picture
Arbyg

Rice flour intead of white flour works better! Keeps the couche cleaner and absorbs less moisture keeping it non clumpy, try it on peel too.

Yundah's picture
Yundah

So why have I always made it so hard?   I just had a total "head/desk" moment when I looked at your illustration.  Thanks so much.  

sweetsadies's picture
sweetsadies

Here is a Youtube video on this ...but I like your illustration better!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hpk0R5tR-pw&feature=channel_page


 


Penny


 


 

shuttervector's picture
shuttervector

I LOVE the diagram as I have run into this sticking issue myself. Cardboard and the diagram will solve the problem.


Thanks for your cleverness.


Dorothy, shuttervector