Chad Robertson's Tips for Shaping Dough

December 18, 2013

This week's guest editor is Chad Robertson, the man behind San Francisco's über-popular Tartine Bakery. He'll be walking us through how to make one of the Porridge Breads from his latest book, Tartine 3, and sharing bits of baking knowledge along the way.

Today: Chad discusses his technique for shaping dough.

Shaping Bread on Food52 Folding Bread on Food52

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Now that we've discussed making a starter and levain and mixing the dough, let's talk about shaping it.

I don’t knead or punch my dough, since pounding it releases all the natural gases I’ve worked hard to develop -- that’s where much of the gradations in flavor lie. Instead, I like to “turn” my dough to strengthen the gluten. The surface tension that builds as the dough anchors itself to the work surface is a further sign of the dough’s maturing strength. By the end of the shaping, the dough should have a taut, smooth outer surface.

Shaping Loaves on Food52 Shaping Loaves on Food52

Oat Porridge Bread

Makes 2 loaves

500 grams high-extraction wheat flour
500 grams medium-strong wheat flour
70 grams wheat germ
750 grams water
150 grams leaven
25 grams fine sea salt
500 grams cooked oat porridge, cooled
200 grams almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
50 grams almond oil (optional)
Coarsely chopped oat flakes (rolled oats) for coating (optional)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Chad Robertson

1 Comment

JimCooks December 14, 2014
Considering that you work with such a high moisture content, are there tips for working with this dough, especially for the shaping, proofing (keeping its shape, etc.) and for the handling to get it into the oven? Thanks!