The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

forming dough into balls

ques2008's picture
ques2008

forming dough into balls

Hi,


Can anyone offer advice on how to roll dough into perfect balls?  I know it seems like a petty question as it's obvious, a no-brainer;  but every time I try to roll my dough into balls, they leave much to be desired. Either the balls have creases, lines, dents, and so when they get baked, they show these creases.  I'd really like to learn how to make perfect balls.  Anyone?  I find it hard especially when I have to make 3 small balls in a muffin cup so they come out like a bubble.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

First, I weigh the dough out so ever piece is the same size, then I create surface tension on each piece by gathering the bottom together (I don't know how to explain this), and lastly, I roll the balls around lightly on the counter.


--Pamela

ques2008's picture
ques2008

that "surface tension" concept is something I need to read more on.  Thanks a lot!

flour-girl's picture
flour-girl

This was a mystery to me, too ... But it's really not that tough -- after a little practice.


You want to do just as the previous poster said, and create a smooth surface by pulling all the sides of the ball to the bottom and pinching them together. Then, you want to twist it around in the palm of your UNFLOURED hand or on an UNFLOURED counter, keeping the top of the ball on the top the whole time. 


I have a better explanation of this on my blog -- under the entry about "Shaping your buns" at my blog, Flour Girl


Good luck and happy baking!


Flour Girl

ques2008's picture
ques2008

I'll check out your blog pronto!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Mark Sinclair has an excellent video on shaping rolls. You'll find it in the video link between the handbook and book review tabs at the top of the home page here.

ques2008's picture
ques2008

Thanks, I'll check it out.  much appreciated.

rolls's picture
rolls

hi the technique posted by flourgirl is a really good one i use it all the time to shape small balls and they do turn out perfect i learnt it from my mum who learnt it from her mum.... i think you get the pic. its fun and quick and easy. you just use one palm as  your 'counter' and with your other hand (i use my right here), have your fingers curved inwards except for your thumb, and then move your hand in circular motions anti-clockwise direction. its easier if  you could see it. it only takes a few seconds. when i first saw my mum shaping these perfect little balls so quicly i HAD to learn that trick. you'll love it. its how i shape all my buns.

ques2008's picture
ques2008

now i'm intrigued.  it sounds complicated, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it in no time.  practice makes perfect!


thanks for your comments.

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igOQ444V84U&feature=related


By flattening the dough first, this person really shows how to create that surface tension and pull it into a ball shape.  With practice, you can just do the surface tension part with your fingers and you won't need to flatten the dough first. 


Then she just makes a little cage of her fingers and rolls the dough around on the surface to get it perfectly round.  Easy!  Use two hands for bigger balls of dough. 


If you want a good dough to practice with, the Alton Brown pretzel dough recipe featured elsewhere on this site is the easiest dough I ever worked with.  It has the perfect texture for learning shaping techniques. 


 


 

allysnina's picture
allysnina

I never could make good rolls so now I'm intrigued to see the video....When I make rolls they come out horrible (as far as looking like rolls, lol)..so now because I cannot master the technique, I put the dough in a 9 X 13 pan and flatten and then make cuts so I get 12 "squares"...thanks for a great question...

ques2008's picture
ques2008

thanks.  i thought at first it might be a dumb question, but i'm glad a couple of people have had or have that problem.


i gotta start working my hands more.

rolls's picture
rolls

hi its not complicated at all just takes a little practice.