Forming the Loaves / by David Sheehan

About two years ago I started baking bread from scratch, starting with recipes from Ken Forkish’s book, Flour Water Salt Yeast. Over the past few months, I’ve been mainly baking levain based breads often with an earthier mix of sprouted spelt and rye flours mixed in. As I pulled a loaf out of the oven this morning, I realized that a great first post on my new webpage should be related to bread.

More specifically, reflecting back on learning how to bake bread, the area that took the greatest discipline and commitment to master was in shaping the loaves and transferring from proofing baskets to the dutch oven for baking. This step toward the end of the process can be easy to speed through but has major impacts to how the bread retains its shape and rises during baking. Proof too long or short and the bread will deflate or not have full flavor development. If you don’t form the loaf right it doesn’t retain as many of the bubbles in the crumb.

Spend time on this last step and it’s easy to get loaves like this one!