Monday, March 22, 2010

Shaping the Loaf

It all began when I was a teenager, lived a minutes walk from church and needed a good excuse to skip Sunday school. “Mom I’ve got to go home after sacrament meeting so that I can shape the rolls for dinner.”

I’ve been making bread ever since. 

I am of the persuasion that if you are ever feeling down about yourself, all you need to do is bake a fresh loaf of bread and give it to someone while it’s still HOT. I promise they’ll be singing your praises and telling you how wonderful you are for days to come. If one loaf isn’t enough to start you on your path out of the doldrums then bake another. A self-esteem boost anchored in service is practically foolproof…that is if you can bake the loaf…

Baking bread is a process that requires mastery at every stage. Today, since some of you have asked, it’s all about shaping the loaf.  Oh and before I get started I just have to tell y’all that everything I learned about whole wheat bread baking came from either NAOMI or the Bread Book she sold me on. 
Everyone should be so lucky to have BOTH! For those of you who don’t have a NAOMI, I’ll do my best to stand in. For those of you who don’t have the book…go get it now or be patient...good things happen to those who wait…

How to Shape a Bread Loaf

Items needed:
Water bottle (for food)
Rolling pin
Heavily greased (with shortening) bread pan

  1.    Take your dough ball and place it, smooth surface up/seam side down, on either a slightly wet or lightly floured surface. (I prefer wet, because the addition of more flour could dry out your loaf.)

2.    Starting it the center of the round, roll out to the edge and gently push out any air bubbles. Your flattened round should be about ½ inch thick before you proceed to the next step.

3.    Flip your flattened round over and smooth out the bottom side with a rolling pin.

    4.    Very gently pick up the top o the round and fold it over the bottom half, creating a half circle. With the rolling pin, gently press the layers together and press out the air bubbles. Mind the fold-it is an easy place for air bubbles to hide.

5.    Next fold the left side of the ½ circle into the center of the dough and press as in step 4 with the rolling pin.

6.    Repeat with the right side of the dough.

   7.    Press the dough into a rectangle that is 8 or 9 inches long (about the length of your bread pan) and about 7 inches wide.

8.   Starting on the long side of the rectangle, begin rolling the dough tightly like a jellyroll.

     9.  Pinch the loaf together to create a seam.

     10. Pinch the ends of the loaf closed and tuck them under. 

11. Place the loaf, seam side down into the heavily greased bread pan. With your hand, gently press down the dough into the pan so that it fills the bread pan and distributes the bulk evenly. You may be tempted to skip this step because the rounded loaf looks so nice nestled in the pan. DO NOT HEED TO TEMPTATION. If you don’t press the dough down to fill the pan, your dough may not rise evenly and therefore your finished loaf will not have a round, even crust.


Aimee said...

Nothing like home made bread! Yummy!! Thanks for the extra tips.:)

Katie said...

Looks easy enough. I don't have the patience with domestic details like this and my bread suffers because of it. Yours look so pretty I'll give it a try next time I make some!

Jessica {The Novice Chef} said...

This looks absolutely delicious!

LustingWanderluster said...

Gwenevere, This is Karen, from Dooce Community. After our email exchange, I decided to check out your website. My husband is also a bread baker, has been since he was nine. You should think about posting a video on youtube. He did that and has had over 43,000 views! You can see it here if you're interested:
I was recently told I was gluten intolerant and have not had any of his bread for over 2 months! He even built an Italian brick oven in our backyard which is a great social attraction; we have brick oven pizza parties throughout the summer. I showed him your technique for shaping the bread and he is going to give it a try. Take care and happy baking. (Mmmmm...I can smell it now!)

Gwenevere said...

Lusting Wanderluster

Thanks for stopping by sew many books. I'm sorry to hear about your gluten intolerance...I'm certain with our luck someone in my family will suffer a similar fate, but until then, we'll eat our bread and covet your brick oven....someday.

Naomi said...

Aw, shucks. You're the best!