The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Shaping question

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Shaping question

I see many examples of shaping and they're very helpful.  I want to shape a decent bâtard.  I've seen Janedo's wonderful photos.  My basic problem at this point is that the techniques involve flouring the preshape and then doing some folding.  Once the dough is floured it doesn't really stick to itself.  So, with a floured, preshaped round bit of dough, how do I get it to stick to itself during the bâtard-shaping process?  Is that what is happening when people "press gently and firmly" along a seam?  Do you keep your fingers floured? (by preshaped I mean the dough has been divided and rested)

Thanks for any help,

:-Paul

halfrice's picture
halfrice

I had (and still have if i'm not careful) similar problem with you a few months back. My bread used to come out with a crack at the bottom or at the side. I called them brains because that's what they look like.

I think the trick is knowing how much flour to put down on your work surface depending on the hydration of your dough. For example, my dough is 68%, I usually only need to scatter one thin layer of flour on the work surface and by the time I got the dough out and shape it into a ball, I would have used up most of the flour. If your dough doesn't stick to itself with just a thin layer of flour dust on top, then I think your dough is too dry and it doesn't really need any extra flour.

Have you looked at the Danielle Forestier video on baguette? You can definitely see that the dough is still a tiny bit sticky when she was shaping it. I have formed the opinion that shaping should be done as fast as possible in order to 1. retain the air and 2. stop it from gathering excess flour inside the dough. From my limited experience, I find that the longer you dwindle on shaping the worst it comes out, i.e. even if you think you didn't do a good job in your first go, it doesn't matter, let it proof and get on to the next one. If you decided to take that piece of dough and start again, you would have knocked all the air out and put too much flour in it and it would come out worse than if you had let it rise after the first shaping.

Erm, I'm not sure how much of the above is helpful, I'm babbling. 

--------------------

Half Rice Half Woman 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Half Rice...

Thanks for the reply.  I had not watched the Danielle Forestier video.  I just did.  I tried before but it didn't seem to work, this time I waited a little longer and it worked, yea!  Very helpful!  There are so many different techniques for mixing and shaping and baking.  It's so interesting.  I think I can bake bread for the next 30 years and still be playing with new techniques.  That's going to help me a lot.  I'll watch her shaping the loaves more times to really get it in my head before I start to do it.  It was great to hear her so calm and see how she dealt with a sticky bâtard that stuck to the towel a little. Also interesting to see how much she deflatted her preshapes before she started shaping the bâtards.  I have until Monday before I'm going to be doing any baking again.  I had to take the weekend off.

I think you are the yeast water person?  I stumbled upon a receipe that used a fermented apple for leavening.  I was thrilled, it came out great.  Now I have a peach fermenting.  I'm going to start a tomato tomorrow.  The peach is 4 days and bubbling nicely.  I just added 200 gms of flour to the peach stuff to see if it likes that for food.  I use the whole fruit and blend it.  So far it's worked, do you think it will work with the tomato?  I don't like to throw things away so I use leftover starter in loaves. Right now I am only baking with natural leavenings, either sourdough or yeast water (but I call mine "yeast mud" because everything is whirred up in there).  I'm a new baker and I want to concentrate on these kinds of leavenings for awhile.

:-Paul

halfrice's picture
halfrice

Quote:
I think you are the yeast water person?

You lost me there. 

Funny you should mention fermenting though. I just made kimchi last week and I have a couple of bottles of homemade ginger beer which should be ready in the next day or two. If you like using fruits to make your starter, try figs, grapes, blueberries, sultanas/raisins (unsulphured and non glazed), basically anything that has a greyish looking layer on their skin. On the site where the Forestier video is, there is a video where Nancy Silverton uses organic grapes to start her starter. i bet Monday doesn't come soon enough for you so that you can bake again:)

--------------------

Half Rice Half Woman 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

There was a person posting who was quite into making "yeast water" and baking really well with it.  They were very comfortable with the process.  As the years march on I find myself more and more confused at times (you are not they).  Oh well.  Thanks for the info, anyway.  Yeah, I can at least do some things to get ready today to bake tomorrow.  I'm champing at the bit to get back to the stove.  And to shape a decent bâtard along the way! 

:-Paul

Pablo's picture
Pablo

 Do you have a recipe you like for kimchi?  I used to love the stuff, but I've been a vegetarian for a long time now and almost all the kimchi I see on the shelves has some sort of fish in it.

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is not so hard to make, you can leave the animal protein out if you like. It will still ferment.

Glad to see ya get rid of the mug shot for a bread birth photo, big improvement!

Mini O

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks, I was hoping you'd notice.  I have a new one planned.  Stay tuned.

I could only take one day off.  I had to bake today, I just couldn't stand it!  The peach stuff is mixed into a dough and in the 'fidge, scheduled for work tomorrow.  I'm eyeing a tomato in the garden right now...

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

When I save seeds for upcoming years, I ferment the seeds first, take about 4 days but the stench is strong and the jars are put where the smells don't bother anyone.  I've not tried tomato yeast.  not yet...

Mini O

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I'll keep you posted.  Our friend is coming to dinner a week from tomorrow.  He likes Havarti with sun dried tomatoes.  I'm figuring to do a 65 - 70% hydratiion dough based on the tomato ferment, cut it in 1/3s, stretch and fold with shredded  Havarti/sdt cheese and then form that tiara deal from Breadtopia.  Maybe some on top for a crust as well.  I hope it's worth photographing.

I'm too old to be this new to gardening.  This is the first year that I've grown tomatoes successfully.

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I watched the Danielle Forestier video and got a really good shape, only a little "brains" :-).  Thanks so much for the recommendation.  Today is "feed the starters" day and after I had reduced them all to manageable size I had a total of 650g of starter (all at 100%, a rye, a whole wheat, a white, and one from an apple ferment).  I mixed it all together with enough white flour and water to get an 80% hydration and let it alone for a few hours.  That's when I got your reply and checked out the video.  So I used her technique, although my dough was a little wetter than hers, and it was so weird to slap it down so much.  I'm always being super gentle trying not to dislodge any bubbles.  I like that big open crumb.  Anyway, the results are by far the best bâtards I've ever shaped.  I haven't cut one open yet, but they got a good spring, considering it was a pretty wet sourdoug.

best baguette yet

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Pablo and Half rice,
Everything you want to know about shaping can be found here. This is the Tutorial section of the Back Home Bakery, owned by a frequent contributor here. All of the videos are excellent and cover many aspects of handling the dough. Much to be learned from these videos if you watch closely. 

Hope this helps.

Eric 

 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks Eric.  Mark from Back Home sent me his Rustic White Bread recipe so I can watch the video and follow along with the same dough (or close to it).  That's next on the list.

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Pablo,
Mark's Rustic White is a very good recipe for a couple reasons. First, it gives you a chance to experiment with a pre-fermented bread and enjoy the subtle improvements that occur with time. If you convert your starter to a rye fed culture and let it mature well, the flavor is really good. Secondly, once you get familiar with the basic formula and have made it several times, it is a good bread to experiment with adding flavors or extra things like raisins or garlic or rosemary and olives. It's a good reliable bread.

Another thing I like about this recipe is that, if you watch his video on folding and shaping, you will learn to handle a higher hydration dough. I didn't get it the first time but my shaping is much better now that I watched closly and see how he doesn't need to touch the sticky side of the dough as he rolls it into a tube. Mark is a skillful guy and there is much to learn. 

Eric 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I'm excited to try it Eric.  I've had the rye cultured preferment in the oven with the light on all night.  It looks happy this morning, movin' along.  The kitty has a Dr. apt. this afternoon, then I'm devoting the rest of the afternoon to this bread.  Yes, Mark is also incredibly generous with his videos of technique.  I wish I lived close enough to his bakery to sample some of his pastries.

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

plevee's picture
plevee

I have seen some of these videos in the past but for over a year I've been getting a time-out before the video loads. Obviously, they are stll available to some of you. Can you tell me how? Patsy

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Interesting you should say that Julia.  I had trouble in the past myself.  Today, since it was just recommended I tried again.  Initially today I got nothing and just as I was giving up, suddenly the video was there, so I got to watch Baguette 1 and 2.  Maybe something changed since the last time we tried?  As I recall there was a choice for QuickTime or Real Player or some such decision.  You had to choose one, and then your browser automatically remembers which one you chose.  Perhaps you chose the wrong one for your setup?  I remember there was a "change" button somewhere along the way of getting to the video that would allow you to switch file types as well as download size.

Hope this helps, good luck.  It's so frustrating when the d**n things don't work.  The videos are well worth watching.

:-Paul

plevee's picture
plevee

Thanks Paul, It's a Mac problem associated with Leopard not recognizing Windows Movie Videos. The site lets you download "flips4mac wmv"plugins which helps with the Safari browser, but I still can't get it to work with Firefox.

Really worth watching!

Patsy

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Patsy, not Julia.  I swear, with each passing day I get more senile.  Anyway I, too, am on a Mac and I use Firefox and I'm able to see the videos.  When we first got the Macs we downloaded flip4mac among other things.  You'd think, in this day and age, things would just work!

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Hi Paul,

From seeing your last baguette, you are obviously getting the hand of it. I just thought I'd mention one thing that I find helps.

When you create your dough, think of it from the beginning as having a top and bottom and then throughout the process, respect those places. When you bring the dough out of the bowl, what was touching the bottom moves to the top (so it is your top), while the rest sets in the flour that is on the table. The top remains "wet". For the baguettes and all my sourdough's, I don't flour the top at all. So, if I do a fold, when it is completed, it is turned around and the top is placed down. When it comes back out, it it again turned over. See what I mean? Then when you do your shaping, the top remains "wet" and when you do your folds for the shaping, it sticks well. Brush off any excess flour on the far edge when it is brought forwards and folded up and then the wet surface from the edge near you will stick to it, no problem.

So basically you always have a floured bottom and a wet top.

I'm not nearly as good as David at explaining things, sorry!

Jane 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks Jane, I'll need to revisit your photos and put them together with your explanation.  I had the Julia Child/Danielle Forestier video playing on my MacBook while I did the shaping.  I did lose track of where the seams were during the final rolling operation.  And that rolling did not go well at all.  My dough was a little wetter than hers, maybe that affected it.  It more flopped around and had a tendency to stick and not really roll out without pressure like she demonstrated.  Great video to watch, though.  I figure to go back and try it again with a less wet dough.  I went for 80% but I have to admit some of the starters might not have been exactly 100% hydration, and whole wheat and rye absorb differently than white, etc.  I will go back and do it again with a recipe from the ground up.  I'll also be looking for your photoset again.  If you could, please note the link for me.

Thanks for the encouragement and perceptive criticism.

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Jane,

I swear I remember seeing some photos from you of shaping a baguette.  I poked at your blog and a little on your site and I didn't find them.  It seems there are many ways to shape.  You are careful to try to maintain the bubbles as you work into the baguette shape, yes?  The Danielle Forestier method had me slapping the dough down on the counter and patting it firmly several times in the formation process after the preshape.  Very different approaches and I think I favour the "preserve the bubbles"  philosophy. 

What doesn't work for me is trying to decide how to shape with the dough sitting there, accusing me.  I generally find myself getting into a panic at that stage, so I need a very clear game-plan from the beginning of the preshape.

If that set of photos of your shaping exists, and if you can provide me a link to them, it'd be swell.

Thanks, :-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

Janedo's picture
Janedo

 Paul,

Here's the link 

 http://aulevain.canalblog.com/archives/2008/08/19/10283573.html

The reason I did this post was because it is a very different technique than what we usually see in books. I don't break the bubbles that have formed during the overnight cold fermentation. There is another technique where you do the shaping, then put it in the fridge and the bubbles form during that time. I just find it easier to shape slight cool dough. The dough is very hydrated and so it is very difficult the handle. Our flours are lower gluten as well and so that makes it quite slithery. So, I handle very gently and that is why my end are always a bit more rustic looking. I don't try and get them perfect.

Jane 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Groovy.  I bet working the dough cold is helpful.  Next on my list of equiment is a little instant read thermometer to start to keep track of dough temperatures.  I have ignored that aspect to date.  I have a probe for internal temp while baking, but nothing handy on the countertop.

I'm just mixing my next baguette dough right now, I figure to bake tomorrow morning.  I want to take some as a present to an appointment tomorrow.

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I admit that I always ignore internal temps except for bakng sometimes if the bread is big. Otherwise I just watch the dough. It's a good idea, though, because it'll give you yet another indication.

Jane 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I just put my dough together for the next baguette attempt.  That will be tomorrow morning.  It's in the 'fridge now.  It's getting cooler at night, I'm going to leave it out when I go to bed and bake first thing in the morning.  The dough felt really good at 75% during the stretch and fold.  Fingers crossed!

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Susan sent me...  Go up to Firefox tools,  Click on Clearing private data and check a number of boxes including Cookies and memory of history etc.  You might not want to check passwords,  Then clear them out and see if that helps.  I'm no wiz, my son helps me.   You also might want to go to downloads and throw a lot of stuff into trash,  then empty the trash. :)  I also have problems with some videos too.  oh well...

Mini O-mac

Pablo's picture
Pablo

If you clear the cookies you may not be able to access some web sites that you currently do without redoing some sort of password/login routine, e.g. financial sites that you visit frequently.  Voice of experience here.

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Mini,

OK, thanks! I did it... it wasn't enough because I have already cancelled the history thing. I'll look at all the things I've downloaded. I think the list is very long. I only have 11,11 go of space. Not good!

Jane 

halfrice's picture
halfrice

 to be honest, I don't know what proper kimchi tastes like. The recipe I was following had raw oyster and fish sauce in it. I replaced the oyster with dried shrimps instead. I think pukka kimchi should have some kind of fish products in it. Not sure what you can substitute fish products with. this is the recipe.

http://www.maangchi.com/recipes/kimchi-kaktugi 

 --------------------

Half Rice Half Woman 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Mini O

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks for that.  The "4 - 6 cups of hot pepper flakes" explains so much!

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

MommaT's picture
MommaT

Hi,

I found the shaping illustrations and instructions in Hammelman's book very useful.

I flour vary sparingly, if at all.  I find that sometimes the bit of tension with the countertop assists in the shaping process. 

 

MommaT, Novice Baker 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

More books!  I have to read what I have before I'm allowed....  :-)

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*

MommaT's picture
MommaT

This is where I find the library particularly useful!  Don't know about yours, but our library has an awesome collection of bread baking books.

good luck! 

MommaT, Novice Baker 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Great idea, thanks.  I don't know why I didin't think of that.  Actually the local library can pull from the entire province!  I don't know if I should take the car or the truck!

:-Paul

*Remember to stop and smell the flours*