During my travels through Teh Interwebs, I ran across this article on shaping boules. It’s got useful information and big pictures showing the process, so if you have any questions, it’s well worth looking at.
Meanwhile, it led me to a few questions and possible Aha! moments. Let me run this past you.
It’s only been the last year that I’ve been making bread here in Sri Lanka. We cannot get gluten here. I generally use white wheat flour (white not as in white wheat, but white as in not whole wheat – just to be anal about clarity) with unspecified gluten percentage.
I also use sourdough (or natural leaven) exclusively – no commercial yeast in any amount.
It’s also only been the last year that I’ve been doing freeform loaves – like French breads, baguettes, boules, whatever. I’m hardly an expert. And everything I’ve learned is from the Internet – ordering books from abroad is a painfully slow, expensive, and iffy affair.
With my freeform loaves, after the first rise, I shape them (which I suck at anyway) and place them on some kind of flat baking dish. Then let them rise again. As they rise, they also spread. They don’t rise up much at all, in fact. Then, as they bake, while they get some oven spring, they don’t get a lot, but my oven is broken and doesn’t get much hotter than 220-230C/425-450F/gas mark 7-8. I’m not even sure it gets that hot, really.
On to the question.
As I’m reading that article I mentioned above about shaping boules, I realized that what that person does, and what many other people do, is put their bread in a shaping pan, whether it be a banneton or bowl or something that keeps the French bread in shape, until the bread has risen. THEN, when it’s ready to bake, they transfer the bread to a baking surface and shove it in the oven. Yes? Am I correct on this or is it just my imagination?
And if I’m correct, than having the bread in that shaping pan while in its last rise, then shoving it immediately in the oven, will prevent the bread from spreading out so much and will help the bread be higher, yes? Yeah, not gooder English – sorry. But that’s the thought that’s finally, finally, finally! occurring to me.
And if you have other tips for getting more rise out of bread, please share them/feel free to point me to links. I’m all eyes. 🙂