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    Shaping a Boule

    A boule is one of the classic French and Italian bread shapes. It can be formed from just about any dough, but seems to work best with dough under 67% hydration. If the hydration gets above 67%, the dough has a tendency to spread out and form a flatter loaf. I think a properly shaped boule should be close to a sphere.

    This bread was made at the same time as the bread in the folding and Brotform series. It’s a 60% French dough, made with a two-day old biga taken straight from the refrigerator without warm-up. I used 2 teaspoons / 10 ml yeast to make a 60 ounce / 1.7 KG dough. There were three folds and a total of 80 minutes fermentation, followed by 1 hour rising.

    Here we go:

    So far, I’ve posted only the full-sized pictures here.

     

     

    French bread dough.
    Two pieces of dough, each about 2 pounds / 900 grams.
    Rounding the dough.
    Round the dough a bit in your hands.
    Bring the sides down toward the bottom.
    Bring the sides of the dough to the bottom, rounding the dough as you do so.
    Squeeze and pinch closed.
    Squeeze and pinch the seam closed very tightly.
    Sealing.
    Another shot of the sealing method.
    Repeat pulling down.
    Still more pulling dough to the bottom. This builds surface tension.
    Finished rounded dough.
    After several iterations, the dough is rounded and shaped as a boule.
    Rising the rounded dough.
    Rising — it’s the one on the right, although the brotform dough on the left was shaped the same way.
    Finished rise.
    Finished rise.
    Slashed.
    Slashed.
    Into the oven.
    Into the oven.
    Done.
    Done.
    Done.
    Another shot. The surface tension that we built into the dough helped keep it upright
    and gave it ability to form a nice round basketball.





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