The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newbie question- pre-shaping and shaping?????

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Newbie question- pre-shaping and shaping?????

I am currently trying my hand on the recipe posted by Shiao-Ping of the Gerard Rubaud Miche-it says under procedure point 4. pre-shape and shape.


Could someone please explain what that means(I guess, the pre-shape is the most confusing part)?


Christina


P.S.:Also tagging on TFL etiquette question: should I have posted this under the orginial Rubaud thread by Shiao -Ping?

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Dan DiMuzio, in his book, "bread baking An Artisan's Perspective" gives, in my opinion, the best description of why, when and how to preshape dough. I won't repeat it here, rather in less words (and less depth) here's my take on preshaping purpose.


Although treated as seperate steps in most bread books, Dividing and Pre-shaping are frequently treated in one continuous operation. Dividing is simply dividing the bulk proofed dough into equal portions (by weight) where each portion will ultimately become a loaf, or a roll: one unit of bread.


Pre-shaping puts each portion into a loose shape (boule, cylinder or log, etc.) that makes final shaping easier. Probably, the best guidance for pre-shaping is "be loose": use the minimum amount of flour dusting the board, including none. The wetter the dough, of course, the more flour is needed but be stingy, and don't tighten the surface skin overly much. Degas gently, but firmly; big, out of proportion, gas bubbles can be deflated with a flick of your finger, don't pound the portion flat. Yes, these terms are imprecise. You can only learn them from practice, practice, practice.


Following the pre-shaping Rest the dough. Some bread books specify this as yet a seperate step, probably to emphsize its importance. How long depends on the dough. It can go from no time (very wet doughs) to as much as 30 minutes: even longer if the dough has been retarded (chilled for a long time) and divided and shaped immediately after being removed from the refrigerator. The purpose of the rest is to allow any tightening of the gluten caused by handling during turn out, degassing, divided, and preshaping, to relax. Strong doughs (tightly elastic) take twenty to thirty minutes to relax. In the case of chilled doughs the longer rest gives the pre-shaped portion time to come to room temperature, as well as allowing its gluten to relax.


Shaping, or Final Shaping is just that. There are illustrations, and descriptions of techniques for each specific shape here on TFL, and in most baking books. Also, there are countless videos available on You tube, and elsewhere online, demonstrating dough shaping techniques. Pick one, and---yeah, here it comes again---practice, practice, practice.


David G


P.S. I don't know that there is any "protocol", but you probably can't do any better than asking Shiao-Ping. She is an incredibly good, precise, and methodical baker.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

I like your explanation more than mine, David.


-- Dan DiMuzio

davidg618's picture
davidg618

But you're still my teacher.


David G

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Thank you very much for your explanation on the pre-shaping and shaping.  I really appreciate it.  And yes, I agree with you that whatever explanation and understanding about bread technique that I may come up with, Dan is still my teacher too!


Shiao-Ping

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Thanks so much David for your answer. It is, as I suspected, a method/bread baking step I had come across in my small bread making experience, but since I habitually bake a) out of German books and b) mainly heavier, german style rye and rye mixture breads I needed to make sure.


I also love that you explain the rest period in relationship to the dough hydration-thank you!


Let's see what I make of this Miche........


Christina

davidg618's picture
davidg618

love to see pictures, if you can manage it.


David G.

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Ok, so here are the results of my first Miche attempt:


according to a google search "miche" is an old french term for a plump loaf of bread-if i apply that standard to my bread it definitely turned out to be a miche.100% miche- i can't imagine it being any plumper if it tried. did it have any resemblance to what i saw on shiao-pings post?errrrr, not so much.


here is what happened and what i think went wrong:


bread life seemed to go along according to plan all up until retardation of the shaped loaf. i shaped the beautifully developed dough,into the most perfect seeming round and stuck it in the fridge to bake in the morning(up until then i went completely with shiao-pings posted formula;the only difference was that i had no spelt flour so the non-AP flour was made up of 15% white WW and 15% rye)


when i looked in the fridge, my handsomely shaped loaf from the previous night looked like a very fat pancake-at which i gazed in horror.


here is where i took matters into my own silly hands and decided to reshape the loaf-which i did and it was nice and round and perfect looking. i let it sit out for about 30-40 minutes while i tried to get my oven as hot as possible.


my thermometer read 500 fahrenheit when i stuck the bread in the oven(with steam) and intended to bake it for 50 minutes at(what i thought) was the temp written in shiao-pings post. well, turns out that that day my oven decided to run colder and after about 40 minutes i look in there and see it was about 15 degrees under what it was supposed to be.so, i turn up the oven and let it bake for about 55 - 60 minutes total. i let it cool off in the turned off oven and didn't cut into it until about 8 hours later. strangely enough it was still slightly warm in the interior.


well, as you can see in the pictures it decided to become an erupting mountain, instead of a well behaved, gorgeously brown,stencilable miche.the oven spring was insane on this one-wow how it leapt into a different galaxy!


the very center of it seemed just a tad underdone and the consistency of the bread is more reminiscent of my german breads than to what i thought this is supposed to be. meaning, my bread-even though it is juicy- is dense-ish; enough so,to be cut into very thin slices.


the flavor is quite surprising and amazing-i swear it starts off with notes of black tea, that then change into something warm and slightly sweet and clear tasting, weird! i have never had a black tea noted bread!


it is pleasant to eat, but i definitely think that reshaping  it after it coming out of the fridge i should have let it rest for closer to 2 hours, rather than the measly 30 minutes-that is, at least, how i explain that exploding crust. i also think, next time i will try and schedule the bread baking such that i don't have to retard overnight- i think retarding such a wet dough makes it easier to form into the desired shape, BUT i have such little experience with retarding a shaped loaf(let alone one that has such high hydration) that i would feel more comfortable to bake it right away. i also think i would let out the steam after 15-20 minutes; i think the crust could be crisper and it would give me a chance to verify the oven temperature. i swear that damn thing sometimes runs hot and sometimes cold and sometimes right on the mark.


lastly, i have to say that the other thing i take away from this experience is that my end product reminded me very much of a bread i used to buy in germany called a "frankenlaib"-minus the caraway seeds. well, now i know how to bake a frankenlaib!


if you have any pointers please let me know. it was well worth doing and i actually might try this again this week!


christina


here are the pictures:


my miche pyramid


my miche pyramid


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


here is where i took matters into my own hands and decided to reshape the loaf-which i did and it was nice and round and perfect looking. i let it sit out for about 30-40 minutes while i tried to get my oven as hot as possible.



Let it rise longer before baking keeping the skin of the loaf moist.   It looks underproofed to me and busted out during the bake.  The crumb says "baked too soon" and could use more fine bubbles, the yeast needed a little longer to loosten up the crumb.


Shiao-Ping wrote once during her SFBI classes that to judge a crumb, look between the bubbles.  And I've been looking between them first ever since.  I was looking for a direct quote but couldn't find it.  A lot of wisdom coming from that suggestion.


Mini, S Korea

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Yup, I totally agree with your verdict, Mini. I should have let those brain cells take my reshaping decision all the way to the logical end(which actually would have been terribly inconvenient since I had to go to work-another bad choice! no more involved new recipe bread baking when you have to go to work, christina! ;p)


Keeping the skin of the loaf moist-see another thing-I should have formed the loaf with wet hands instead of with floured hands me thinks!


I don't know if I can take this much learning before I finished my first cup of coffee! Oh, Mini, do you think I should forego the retarding or just stick with the recipe as is. If you think I should keep the retardation, do you have any advice for me? I actually think, if I had left it in its flat pancake shape and if that shape had gotten as much oven spring as the fat loaf, then it would have been a fine bread! Shiao-Pings write up also doesn't specify letting the dough come to roomtemp after the fridge....hmmmmm.


Thanks Mini for your input....I might be gearing up for round two today.We shall see...


Christina

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

much "room temp" time the dough got before being retarded.  And that takes experience with your starter and the recipe you're using.  I'm sure you could have left it in the fridge longer.  I leave that up to you.  You know your time schedule better.  Don't forget to take notes or foot note your recipes.  You don't have to retard, you can just go straight thru. 


Retarding is a tool to slow down the fermentation.  As fermenting progresses it also speeds up, cooling slows it down but not completely and only to a noticable amount in the early and middle stages (if the end stage is fully ripe maximum dough expansion.)  Retarding after the dough has fermented extensively can only be effective for a short time.  These are things to think about when putting the dough together with large amounts of fermented dough.  If you want a more sour dough, and you want it thru retardation, then it is important that the dough will have fermented some before being chilled.  Chilling right after mixing does not lead to a sour dough but delays yeast and gas production meaning a longer rise time is needed.  Here is where the amount and temp of the dough has great influence, a small cool dough chilling faster.  A warm dough, and a lot of it, would take longer to chill and therefore ferment more before the chilled temp is reached.  These are just a few ideas to manipulate the rising time. 


If I took your dough, and instead of rushing it, folded it, shaped it and left it in the refrigerator another 10 hours, it would be further along with fermentation and possibly require less rising time at room temperature.  The same situation and everything only delayed 10 hours.   The dough would now be gently moved to parchment or pan (without an added fold) and allowed to rise more if needed.


Mini

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

First off, Mini, I really appreciate you taking the time to help me along here. I know this is what happens here on TFL and hopefully down the line I will be able to add my 2cents, but in the meantime I feel extra lucky to have such willing fellow bakers at my fingertips.


I am a bit confused by your last paragraph: I did the three hour fermentation time at room temp with the 5 s&fs at 30 minute intervals and then retarded it in the fridge for about 5-6 hours. Do you mean to say that possibly I should have left it in the fridge longer? Given it one more s&f after the 5 hour retardation and stuck it back for 10 hours?Given it more initial rising time?


I am sure this is all difficult to answer since you did not see the dough and had your hands in it and I am sure it will all work itself out with practice on my part.


How can I determine if it needs to rise more after it comes out of the fridge- the sticking your finger in it method and seeing if the gap fills itself?


Ok, am definitely starting the whole shebang again tonight and see if it works out such that I will need to retard or not.


Thanks a million,


Christina

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You understood me perfectly. :)


It is not unusual for sourdoughs to flatten out as they ferment, that is why the stretch & folds are so useful for high hydration sourdoughs.  Yes, I think the dough could have gone for more time in the fridge or more time on the counter top, either way.   Using Shiao-Ping's recipe you have an advantage when speaking about retarding.  At the time she used this recipe, she has hot summer and you, winter in Chicago.   Your 3 hour fermentation time will be slower so by sticking to 3hrs, you can easily retard it longer than she did with 9 hours.  Once the dough is cold, it takes on a different consistancy and is stiffer.   I would bet it went flat one hour after you put it in the fridge.


I quess you could judge the dough readiness by comparing the volume keeping in mind the stiffness of cold dough and the original just mixed size.  As you fold the volume decreases just a little but the shape gets stronger as you stretch the gluten strands.  As it warms up to room temp (one hour or more) it gets softer stickier and fights you but you added lots of body and you can feel the air inside the dough growing.  Note: Before the final shaping, you can add as many sets of folds you think it needs.  Let it rest 30 min between sets and when it feels like the next fold will tear, stop.  Now you need only to pre-shape and shape (there it is again) let it rise one final time before baking.  Think of it as one continuous rise intrrupted with gluten building folds during temperature changes.


You might want to let the final rise happen in a floured brotform or banneton, a basket made for just that purpose, to hold the dough while it expands up so it's not running sideways.  Then the risen, oven ready dough is gently turned upside down onto parchment and placed into the oven.  It is also possible to fold the cold dough (in this case after retarding 6 hours)  shape and place upside down in the brotform, place inside a plastic bag and put back in the refrigerator.  Then when you're home from work, heat up the oven and pull the brotform and dough out of the fridge and see if it's ready to roll over add a little decoration of flour and bake.


I poke my loaves on occation but not always,  I like to rest my wet hands on the loaf, hold it.  It should have some spring to it but it shouldn't feel tight.  If the dough dents with the finger test it should push back just a little, if there is no resistance, the loaf is possibly overproofed. 


Mini

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Glorious post to read-am choreographing an " I can do it dance" that goes with the song I just composed in my head. I enjoy your tactile descriptions-that works well for me! It was one of the deciding factors when doing the Hannoversches Doppelback, because I had read somewhere about how the rye dough should give some gentle resistance /pushing back when it is reading(my paraphrase may be off, but I knew what it shold feel like)


Ok, am dancing into the kitchen to check on my first build and singing "I can do it-with Isolde's(the SD starter) help, of course"


I shall report back!


Christina

Sedlmaierin's picture
Sedlmaierin

Mini- it is done! Haven't cut into it yet, BUT it looks like a MICHE!!!!! Will post about it later-I could not have done it without you!I hope the crumb is as pretty as the outside......

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I have heard that you and I probably pronounce Miche very differently, more like German Mee-hee than Meesh.   Can't wait for the photos!   Gotta go stir some salt into my walnut bread dough.  :)

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Thank you, Mini Oven, for your explanation.  I have tried but I still need to be more precise with the precedure and temperatures, etc, that my dough had received.


Shiao-Ping 

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Just a quick note to let you know that, No, you don't  have to post your question in my thread and that I am happy that you are getting plenty of help.  Thank you everyone who has offered answers and comments. 


Shiao-Ping