Sourdough Recipe

FINAL SHAPING

Once your loaves have rested on the counter for 30 minutes, it’s time to shape them. There are a few steps to the shaping process.

Lightly sprinkle the top of the preshaped loaves with flour. Flip the first loaf so the floured side is down.

Gently grab the edge of the dough closest to you and pull it toward you. Don’t worry, it will stretch. Fold it up and over so it covers about half the dough.

Now grab the right and left edges of the dough. Stretch the sides out. Fold the right side over the top. Then fold the left side over the top. The result will look a little like an open envelop.

Finally grab the edge farthest from you. Stretch it away from you and the up and over the top, like you’re sealing the envelope. Gently roll the dough toward you, as if you’re rolling the envelope over so it is seams down.

Using cupped hands, turn the loaf in the same way you pre-shaped the loaf–turning it and gently pulling it across the counter toward you to create tension along the surface of the loaf. The resulting loaf will be smooth on top, but have a bit of a navel on the underside.

Repeat the process with the second loaf.

The final shaped loaves don’t look much different from preshaped loaves.

Place Loaves in Medium Bowls

Leave the loaves on the counter for a moment. Line two medium (3 quart) bowls with lint-free dish towels. (I like flour sack towels because they’re cheap and no one steals them to dry dishes.) Sprinkle a little flour or rice flour on the towel; this will keep the loaves from sticking when you place them in the bowls.

Very carefully, pick up the loaves and place them navel-side up in the bowls. Place each bowl inside a turkey roasting bag, making sure to keep enough air in the bag so it doesn’t rest against the dough. Seal the bag with a twist tie or rubber band.

Not pretty, but turkey roasting bags are perfect for covering the bowls without getting stuck to the dough.

Put both loaves in the refrigerator and leave them for 8-10 hours to prove (ferment and rise).

Sloppy Baker’s Tip: A loaf can prove in the fridge for anywhere from 8 to 24 hours and still come out ok. On The Great British Baking Show, Paul Hollywood might say a loaf is overproved or underproved, but I have no idea what that means in real life.

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