The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Thom Leonard's Country Boule

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Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Thom Leonard's Country Boule

I was asked to bring a couple loaves of sourdough and a loaf of multigrain for our Deschutes rafting trip menu. I baked off Struan and Thom Leonard's sourdough.

I have a couple questions re the rounding and shaping of the loaves. I mixed the loaves on a Sunday and retarded them overnight. The dough had doubled by the morning. Since I wasn't going to bake them until the evening I punched them down. Monday evening the dough was right back up there. The directions say to gently round into a tight boule and shape into a tight loaf without deflating. I can't figure out how to do this. The dough was quite slack and full of big gas bubbles (for lack of a better description). I would have had great open crumb if I could have shaped without deflating. Should I just have done stretch and folds rather than trying to actually shape tightly? The bread's flavor was awesome, the crumb, not tight but not open either.

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

Good question, PC!

Trish

RFMonaco's picture
RFMonaco

Much simpler to use a pre-heated cast iron pot to hold the sides up.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I just can't figure out how to round/shape without deflating the open crumb. The loaf looked fine.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Pattyscake, from your discription of "quite slack" the thought of overproofing came to mind.  Could that be possible?  Maybe shape much sooner before it gets to that stage.  What do ya think?    --Mini Oven

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

perhaps..it was in the fridge overnight. I checked it early in the AM and it had risen over the top of the bowl. I couldn't bake it until the evening..still I could feel the large bubbles throughout the dough, so I'm not convinced it was overproofed. It rose quite quickly after shaping.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Paddyscake, I found some good information on shaping a boule in bwraith's Sourdough Pagnotta posting. This time I tracked it down on the Firm Starter discussion and it was in italics at the end of his recipe and instructions. You probably saw it too but I thought it might help, A

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I will go back and read it again...

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Paddyscake, will you clarify as I’m confused from what you wrote.  You retarded the bulk dough, correct?  Not the shaped loaves?  So when you say you punched the dough down it was the bulk dough – just trying to clarify.  And when did you shape the loaves? 

 

I have some more notes since I just baked this recipe again a few days ago.  I learned another new thing myself but first wanted to ask you the above questions.

 

I am not sure if this applies to you since I’m a bit confused about your process but some info from Glezer’s book, Blessings of Bread, she states on page 47 when talking about end of fermentation:

 

…”Once the dough is ready to shape, it’s important not to punch it down, as many cookbooks instruct.  Years ago, when I first spent time with a typically generous French baker in Grenoble, France, I tried to help him shape some of his dough and began to punch it down, that is deflate it and fold it up.  He sucked in his breath sharply and told me NEVER to punch dough down before shaping it.  Besides destroying its lovely large cell structure, he explained, it tightens the dough, causing it to rip instead of extend.  That lesson has since been pounded into me again at every professional seminar I have attended.”…

 
zolablue's picture
zolablue

When I baked these the other day I was rereading about shaping boules since I also do not have as open crumb generally with boules than with other shapes.  It has been so long since I really read the book that I've forgotten so many things along the way so this really helped me.

 

On page 17, Glezer talks about rounding and resting.  She states that once you divide the dough and preshape the rounds you should let them rest for at least 15 - 30 minutes before forming into the tight boule.  During this time, she goes on to say, they fill up with carbon dioxide and become very extensible.  I did this and really noticed a difference when I formed the boules tightly.  They just bubbled. 

 

Now, another thing I just read (and missed the other day) was to then allow them to rest again for 10 minutes on the bottom so the seams seal.  I'll try that next time as I just pick them up after forming and put them in the brotform and then pinch the seams shut.  Still with that method I got the boules to come out looking exactly like the photo in the book.  Hope this helps some.  We're all learning this together.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I retarded and punched down the bulk dough. That morning it was climbing out of the bowl and I had to do something because I wasn't going to shape until the evening. In retrospect, I think I should have just gently deflated and done a fold. I don't always think clearly at 4AM!

In the evening I did try to gently shape into boules and then let them rest 10-15 minutes. They did feel bubbly. I just have a hard time understanding "forming into a tight boule". How do you do that without deflating the "bubbles"? 

Letting the boules sit for 10 minutes before putting them into your brotform does wonders, no need to pinch your seams. Thanks for your suggestions. No baking this weekend, we're off to Seattle to a Mariners game, but next weekend, ha!, back to bread!