Sourdough Recipe

PRESHAPE

After the dough rests on the counter for a couple hours, it’s ready to begin forming it into loaves. Flour the counter very lightly (and I mean very lightly) and pour the dough onto it. Using a chef’s knife or a bench knife (sometimes called a bench scraper), divide the dough into two equal parts.

Flour your hands. Using slightly cupped hands, turn the dough without lifting it from the surface. As you turn the loaf, pull it gently toward you across the counter. The goal is to shape the dough into a round loaf shape with a little tension across the surface of the loaf. This brief video will help you understand the motion, but the baker in the video uses a bench knife in one hand instead of two hands.

Once you’ve shaped your loaves, leave them on the counter uncovered for about 30 minutes. This time will allow the dough to “relax.”

The preshaping, relaxing, and the final shaping (which we’ll cover shortly), are designed to help the bread maintain its shape during it rise and eventual baking.

Sloppy Baker’s Tip: Preshaping and the final shaping of your loaves can be tricky. It takes a little practice to become comfortable with the motion and technique. You can completely blow this step and your bread will still tasted good, but your loaf may look a little, um, different. Who cares? It’s bread.

Preshaped loaves

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