The importance of shaping a loaf

22 Jul

Shaping a loaf is just one of the techniques you have to master in bread, together with proper kneading (is it ready already? does it need a bit more wrist dancing? is it too much? can I turn off the stand mixer now?), enough rising times, water temperature, salt amount…Uff…Every book I read, the authors always say: It’s not difficult, in fact, it’s all very simple, once you’ve mastered it it will be a piece of cake. Well, except if you are talking about a home made capillary electrophoresis system that is very very temperamental and you never know what to expect from it (Oh no! I am talking about WORK!), that sentence can be applied to practically anything, right? Once you know it, you know it. Thanks. I think when it comes to bread, you have to practice a lot to really know your dough. And find a good flour then stick to it all the time. If not, that would be introducing another strange variable and you don’t want that!

I hope I never mentioned this here in the blog before because I don’t want to be repeating myself but the first time I attempted at making a bread, I was  was bored at home (Uni times- I am sure all I wanted was to come up with an excuse to not study) an thought: Hang on, bread is water, flour, salt and yeast. Yeast= baking powder. Water= has to be really hot! Proving the dough? Really? It can’t be! And voila, a great disappointment and me back to my desk where I should have stayed in the first place.

I am now more and more familiar with bread making e and even venture into new creations but the “basic” (there it is again, the word bakers most love) shaping techniques, I am not quite there yet.

Let’s analyse…

loaf-shaping_1

Uuuhhmmm should that thing be sticking out from the bottom??

loaf-shaping_2

And from the sides too!

I know the dough has to be shaped into something like an envelope, with the seam side down. Beleive me, the pictures here show a very good bread! Sometimes the bumps and protuberances are even bigger!

This bread- Norwegian grovbrod – rustic brown bread- was an adaption of a recipe you can find in Signe Joahnsen’s new book Scandilicious . I missed a couple fundamental ingredients- oatbran and wheatgerm and replaced them with more rye flour. I’ve also left the dough rest in the fridge not one day as suggested but three! This is not wrong, I read somewhere you can leave it up to 5days, and it’s a good way for the dough to develop more flavour.

The brown from the bread also comes from adding treacle to the mix (I add molasses- almost the same as treacle, just darker). I find the bread comes a bit too sweet to my taste because of the molasses, so I’ve added more salt. I’ve also realized the water quantities Signe advises (she always gives a range, like 375-390 ml of water- there it is again, the practice) are always a bit too much, even when I am using the least amount. This could probably be because all the recipes are made to spelt flour and the water quantities were not altered to match when using plain flour, which is given as a replacement to the spelt.

See you soon!!!

 

One Response to “The importance of shaping a loaf”

  1. Nazaré July 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Não percebi nada e, por preguiça, não fui traduzir.
    Falo depois contigo.