The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A sieve or a proofing basket? More adventures in jury rigging

  • Pin It
wally's picture
wally

A sieve or a proofing basket? More adventures in jury rigging

This weekend I decided to try Hamelman's Country Bread in the shape of a boule.  However, I lack proofing baskets, and as I proceeded through the recipe, a nagging thought kept injecting itself: So, how do plan on keeping your boule from turning into a pancake?



I baked only one loaf, so I scaled down his recipe thus:


Overall formula:


Flour (sir galahad)    454g    100%


Water                         309g     68%


Salt                                4g      1.8%


Yeast    1/4tsp instant dry       .6%


The pre-ferment is a stiff pâte fermentée:


Flour                        227g


Water                       136g


Salt                              2g


Yeast  1/16 tsp instant dry


Final dough:                DDT = 75° F


Flour                       227g


Water                     173g


Salt                             2g


Yeast  1/4 tsp instant dry


Pre-ferment            365g


Mixing:


The pâte fermentée is made up 12 - 16 hours prior to the final dough.  Final mixing involves incorporating all ingredients except the pâte fermentée on speed one, and then cutting in the pre-ferment in chunks as the dough comes together.  Increase to speed two and continue for 2 - 3 minutes (or longer).  Hamelman's description of the final dough is "supple and moderately loose, with moderate gluten development."  My own experience was that while the dough had developed some strength, it was still relatively slack.


Bulk fermentation:


2 1/2 hours, with two folds at 50 minute intervals.


Shaping and Baking:


Pre-shape, cover with plastic and bench rest for about 20 minutes.  Final shaping into boules is followed by placing the loaf into a floured banneton or a couche.  Final fermentation is approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hour.  Bake is at 450° in a pre-steamed oven that is steamed again once the loaf is loaded.  Baking time is approximately 35 minutes.


The moment of truth for me came at the shaping stage when I had to decide what to do with this boule I had created.  It was clear to me that with a final fermentation time of an hour or longer, even a tightly shaped boule would begin to imitate ciabatta dough, and I do not have any bannetons.  But as I surveyed my kitchen, it occured to me that I did have a fairly sturdy sieve, into which I could fit a floured tea towel.  That revelation then raised the question, how to suspend the sieve so that it was level/  A 2 qt. calphalon pot volunteered and I glimpsed a true jury rigged solution to my problem.



I heavily floured the tea towel with rice flour, which I've discovered is much less absorbent than AP - I haven't had anything stick to surfaces I've dusted with rice flour and this was no exception.



The result is a boule which, though it spread some in the oven, does not resemble the pancake I had dreaded as I began my project.  The country bread has a pleasing taste - thanks to the pre-ferment - and makes a nice (if not so wide) sandwich bread.



Meanwhile I've made a note to add bannetons to my Christmas list.  But in the meanwhile, I'm happy with my sieve and makeshift proofing method!


Larry


 


 


 

Comments

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Looks like a very tasty boule!  I have banneton's but still use small bowls and my stainless steel collander comes in handy.


Sylvia

wally's picture
wally

Sylvia,


Thanks!  I've gotten two comments mentioning the possiblities of collanders.  I may do a switch to one for my next boule bake to see what result I get.  I love clever solutions that don't involve big dollar expenditures!


Larry

Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

This looks like a very neat loaf, I really love the crumb!


I have always been using my colander(s) for the final proof, just like you with your sieve. And actually, I really like using a colander as it gives a cute flour-dot pattern on the final bread - have a look here.


But I think a sieve would work better as it has more open surface and will better prevent the dough from sticking to the cloth.

wally's picture
wally

Ruben,


Checked out your link and I'm impressed by the pattern you got using your collander.  I may have to borrow or steal your technique!


Larry

Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

Why, there's no need to steal anything - you can have 'my technique' any day.


Just don't use too much flour on the tea towel, else it'll overwhelm the differences in moisture and your bread will be all-white instead of dotted. Which may be very pretty on its own (see here - same 'technique', more flour, no pattern) but may be beside the point.

This Day's picture
This Day

When you suspend the sieve in a bowl or a pot you can thread the handle of a wooden spoon through the loop on the sieve that's opposite its handle.  Place the spoon handle outside the bowl or pot.  This will keep the sieve from falling into whatever it's suspended in.


I don't have bannetons either; instead I use straw hats with round crowns.  I line them with floured towels and suspend them in bowls slightly larger than, but deeper than, the crowns of the hats.  The brims of the hats prevent the dough in the crowns from falling in.


 

wally's picture
wally

Now that's really out-of-the-box thinking!  I don't have any, but I'm willing to bet I could probably buy a dozen for the cost of a banneton.  Thanks for sharing!


Larry

This Day's picture
This Day

I found cheap hats at a dollar store for (what else) a dollar!


 

tao_of_dough's picture
tao_of_dough

What a great idea!  I am totally trying that out this weekend.  Thank you for this post!

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

the dough still wants to go sideways, I am now doing the last proof in a springform and put the whole thing on the preheated bottom of my La Cloche ( or just a stone would do great). The top of the Cloche still fits over the whole thing, and the bread turns out beautifully.


But the straw hat takes the price !!!   lol