The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

When to divide the dough??

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

When to divide the dough??

Hey folks,

Thinking of scaling ingredients to bake 2 loaves instead of one. I'm using Trevor Wilson's recipe and methods here: http://www.breadwerx.com/how-to-get-open-crumb-from-stiff-dough-video/, and don't want to de-gas at all. I also don't want to have to work each loaf separately. At what point in the process do I divide the dough?

Thanks in advance, TFL!

DDoutel

 

drogon's picture
drogon

You'd typically be dividing immediately prior to proofing. So using Trevors method, you do the final bowl loosen to tip it out, then cut into 2. Then you can carry on the tightening and shaping with the 2 separate lumps of dough, rest/shape/proof.

-Gordon

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

I'm in agreement with Gordon but I'd like to add another perspective.

We all strive for gas and flavor-producing fermentation and a strong gluten framework, so time, temperature, ingredients and handling will all affect the end result. My wish would be to have gas, flavor and gluten development all peak just as I score the loaf and load it into the oven, but I am rarely that lucky.

Working backwards from the oven loading, on the average I proof my baguettes for about an hour at around 70 - 75F. Shaping takes about half an hour and resting after dividing takes about 20 minutes. 1 hour + 30 minutes + 20 minutes is nearly 2 hours, so on the average I divide my bulk dough about 2 hours before I bake.

Of course every baker will approach this differently because not all of us develop our finished product in the same way. This just happens to be the way I approach my baguettes. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

"I also don't want to have to work each loaf separately"

Only one way then... After the bulk ferment before the pre-shape. If you're following Trevor Wilson's method the pre-shape starts in the bowl but you won't be able to do this. Instead flour the worktop and with your scraper turn out the dough. Divide into two and then carry on with two separate doughs.

 

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Excellent; exactly what I needed to know; many thanks for the replies!

BTW, Lechem, you pointed me to Trevor's techniques in my first post here at TFL, and I want to thank you for doing so. Thanks to his excellent tutorials, I've jumped leaps and bounds from where I started a few months ago. I owe you a debt of gratitude! :)

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

My pleasure. Glad you are enjoying them and finding it useful. Some neat ideas and lovely recipes. I try to recommend his site to everyone. 

- Abe

Trevor J Wilson's picture
Trevor J Wilson

Everyone's advice here is spot on, and you won't go wrong by following it. But I'll tell you what I often do when I'm making a batch of just two loaves . . .

I'll bulk the double batch, then do the fold/remove from bowl as usual. Then I'll preround the entire batch as usual. Then, once I have a nice even round, I'll simply cut it in half with the bench knife and quickly reround each piece. 

This method isn't as accurate as scaling each loaf individually, but if you make a nice even preround before you split it then it's typically close enough that you won't be able to tell any difference between the finished loaves. To me, that slight potential for inaccuracy is worth it because the process maintains greater dough integrity for each loaf.

It's a minor thing, and I only do it with double batches. With 3 or more loaves I'll scale it in the conventional manner. Just thought I'd throw that out there as an alternative in case you wish to try it. Otherwise, as already mentioned, the previous advice is solid and correct.

Cheers!

Trevor

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Hey Trevor! Great to hear from the man himself! I certainly will give your suggestion a try; simpler and faster, and as you say, it's only two loaves. I'll be baking tomorrow, but not sure I'll do two loaves this time. When I do, though, I'll post back here with results.

As you have noted elsewhere, being a beginning baker can be and is both bewildering and disheartening; your videos and blog posts, and the folks here with their posts and answers here in the forum have actually made being a beginner fun! I learn multiple things every time I bake!

Again, many thanks!

DDoutel