The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Shaping before final proof: preserve or remove gas?

brec's picture
brec

Shaping before final proof: preserve or remove gas?

I've seen some videos which punch down and flatten the dough prior to shaping and final proof, and others which are explicit about treating the dough as gently as possible to preserve the gas produced by bulk fermentation.

I haven't quite been able to deduce the principle that distinguishes these cases.

My primary interest is 100% whole grain -- wheat for the present -- sourdough.

Thanks for any insight...

caribou's picture
caribou

I am not an expert by any means but I believe that the general practice for artisan sourdough baking is to treat the dough gently . The method of punching down seems to me to be a somewhat older technique more associated with yeast bread, presumably because the rise in yeast bread tends to be a lot more explosive within a short time, and it may be necessary to punch down to enable the dough to be shaped .

brec's picture
brec

True, you don't hear"punch down" much, but the practice is still used sometimes for final shaping. Here's an example youtube video: Laminated Rollup Bread Shaping Method. It's from a Breadtopia post on making a Whole Grain Sourdough Rustic Country Loaf.

"Sometimes" -- I just haven't been able to figure out when.

caribou's picture
caribou

Hmm thats a good point . I am not very sure, but I believe that when the dough is of high hydration you would not punch down because the dough is already delicate and you would want to preserve as much of the air incorporated in the dough as possible. So, possibly, punching down for shaping may be more suitable for stiffer doughs?

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

on the type of crumb you want. Punch down for fine even crumb, delicate handling for larger irregular holes. Of course, this is just my conclusion from reading various sources. I am no expert!