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Balls? Bowls? BOULES!

I've been working on shaping my sourdough loaves. The boule (French for "ball") is a nifty shape that gives you plenty of nice exterior crustiness while keeping a nice round creamy-rich interior. The shape relies on surface tension in the rather firm dough; you basically keep turning it inside-out in your hands until the top has a nice bit of tenseness, then fold the body of the dough underneath and inside the ball.

Here's the raw dough after proofing in the fridge for about 24 hours, giving the wild yeasts a bit of time to percolate and add additional flavors and (ideally) complexity to the finished product. I left the dough maybe a bit more stiff than I should have because I wanted the shape to hold over the long slow proofing/retardation period.


And here's the finished product, baked about 30 minutes with generous applications of steam in the first three minutes or so to help give the crust some nice texture and bite

The prettier of the two is being sent to a buddy, the slightly-less-prettier one is going to be breakfast in the morning. :)

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