The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to achieve round boule

home_mill's picture
home_mill

How to achieve round boule

How do I get a Boule to come out round (like the picture on the cover of Peter Reinharts whole grains)?

Mine are round on top, but always flat on the bottom. My dough is 75% hydration and I let it rise in a Banneton and then dump it out onto a baking stone and put steam in the oven to start. When I put the dougn on the stone it spreads out instead of holding the shape of the Banneton, I get some oven spring that helps to restore the shape but the bottom is always flat and the widest part of the loaf.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Sounds like your dough is lacking strength.  Give it a few stretch and folds and it will be able to hold its shape.

SOL

somegeek's picture
somegeek

When do you suggest folding it?  Right before proofing?

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

From what I've read, for a commercially yeasted dough, once or twice during primary fermentation (say, every 45-60 minutes) is pretty typical.  For sourdough, every 60-90 minutes is sufficient, as fermentation proceeds much more slowly.

home_mill's picture
home_mill

I have been stretching and folding but only just before shaping.

I will try to do it during fermentation. Sometimes I make full sourdough so it takes a while to ferment, but other times I add instant yeast to the sourdough and it usually doubles in 45 minutes, so in order to get two folds in I would have to do it at 15 and 30 minutes.

 

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

First off,  I ran across Reinhart's Q&A, and his suggestion was to do one fold 30 minutes in, in order to firm up the dough (assuming it needs it), and then maybe one more fold 30 minutes later if you're still not happy with the strength of the dough.  I haven't tried this schedule, but I think I might switch to it for my next sourdough boule, as the downside to folding is that you can deflate the dough a bit, which particularly sucks for sourdough, especially if you want a nice open crumb, as it takes so very long for the dough to gas up.  Doing only a couple folds very early in the bulk fermentation cycle ensures that the dough has a chance to really rise.

But, back to your comment... in that scenario, I'd try degassing the dough and folding at 30 minutes, then possibly repeating the process at the 60 minute mark if it needs it, and then letting it double up prior to shaping and final proofing.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Wait... they're *not* supposed to be flat on the bottom?  Hmm... oh well, at least mine won't roll off the counter when I cut them! ;)

JIP's picture
JIP

Are you saying you want a ball shape to your bread because honestly I dont think I would even want that even if it were possible.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Fold it during fermentation--trial and error is the best method, esp if you record your technique, even better if you have 2 or 3 batches that you're doing side-by-side.  If you wait til shaping, folding it will be of only minor help when compared to its effects during fermentation.  You've missed most of your opportunity to strengthen the dough, in other words, if you wait til shaping.  If your dough does still seem weak during shaping, a firmer hand with the preshaping and the shaping will help.  If this is poorly worded, I apologize (fatigue).

SOL

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Since I started systematically folding during the initial rise, I do find the dough has more strength and a better form after baking... BUT, I really am not looking for a round loaf either. I rather like a flat bottom and a puffed up  top. And some of the best bread I've eaten and/or made are sometimes actually quite spread, but with a very open crumb (I'm taking sourdough here). I made a sourdough spiked with yeast yesterday and it was very round and springy... but I actually hated it. It was light in texture, too light, and boring in taste.

Jane