The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The right shape for bread

agres's picture

The right shape for bread

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Recently, I saw a lot of interest in (sourdough) boules.  I do not find spherical or circular loves particularly handy for eating. I see them as being more for the convenience of baker, and in part a result of using Dutch Ovens to enhance oven spring and produce a crisp crust. 

Nevertheless,  I wonder, "Why the focus on boules?"  I like breads baked in loaf and Pullman pans. I like long, "baguettes"  and batards made from various doughs.  These are easy to slice so everyone at the table gets a similar slice.  Baguettes  seem democratic.

And there are rolls and little buns. They are democratic at the dinner table. 

What menu, and what chef, wants boules?  

BrianShaw's picture

I had no idea that this was a controversial topic!

BethJ's picture

...I'll bite.

We're good with all of it.

Boules we cut in half, and then slice the halves.  Lasts us several days.  Baguettes we quarter for sandwiches, or slice thickly for French toast ... lovely.

We heartily endorse little rolls and buns, especially ciabatta.

Traditional loaves don't serve much purpose for us.

To each his own?

Justanoldguy's picture

"Form should follow function" - A wise man once said that (or maybe it was a wise woman on the other hand it could have that's just too complicated). Bread in our house is most often used to create noon-day sandwiches  constructed with, of all things, sandwich meats and cheeses and it also provides slices of toast on the weekend. So the essential function of bread in our house is to minimize the accumulation of mustard, mayo, butter, jam or jellies on our fingers or garments. Therefore my 4x4x9 Pullman pan is developing a lovely patina. If a meal called for rolls, or slices of a ball, a bat or one of them long, skinny things that fit in a bag I'd be more than happy to attempt to fulfill those requirements. I do not necessarily subscribe to the idea that they are for the baker's convenience. I tend to think they more likely satisfy a desire to create a more convivial atmosphere when bologna and chips are absent.

ds99303's picture

A lot of people hollow out boules for dips and soups.  Large ones are for dips and small ones are used for soup bowls.  The part that's hollowed out can be cut into cubes and used for the dip or they can be toasted and made into croutons.