Sourdough bread - Dividing

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Dividing and shaping

At this stage the dough should be manipulated with care.
You already know the weight of dough required for each bread as well as the number of breads, this was a step in the calculation during the planning phase. Dividing consist of cutting the dough in the number of pieces required making them as equal as possible. Put each piece on the scale and bring it to the correct weight by cutting off or adding on the right amount of dough.

Make a ball with each piece, joining your hands like a cup try to tuck the outside skin of the ball under the ball this has for effect to stretch the outside skin of the ball. Repete this important process then start shaping.
Have your proofing baskets ready and dusted, if you are going for long breads you can use a large piece of linen you will fold it to cover each bread making a separation between each of them (When I think of that system I have in mind the image of corrugated Iron). The idea is to stop the shaped dough to spread, this is not a problem when using baskets but for long bread it is a good idea to support the two external sides with heavy objects. If you want to add toppings on the dough like sesame or Nigel seeds it is time to do this.
Last recommendation: leave the seams up, the seam is the bottom side where you seal the dough. The idea behind that is for moving the dough onto the peel, usually you put the peel on top of the proofing basket and you turn everything over the unseamed side is now on top ready for the oven.

Copyright © 2005 Henri Saurat - All rights reserved