Originally Posted by raidencmc
Rpcookin Yes that is what I was looking for. Maybe the size of a slice of salami. Do you make it flat when your shaping it?
No. In fact when doing the final shaping they say to deflate the dough as little as possible. But keep in mind that it is not a no-knead bread - it is in fact a 4 hour process on baking day, with a few minutes the evening before to make the poolish. I figure I need at least 3 hours and 40 minutes for the mixing, kneading, and various resting and fermenting, rising and baking steps. A lot of that is just waiting time, so although you are tied to the house, you can do other things while the dough is getting happy. I weigh the flour and water for a proper ratio, and I've never had to fudge either one to get the dough right.
I start the night before with a poolish (very wet flour, water and yeast mixture) that ferments on the counter overnight. The the next morning the poolish, remaining flour, water and yeast get just barely mixed, then rests 30 min; add the salt and knead 7-10 min, rest 40 min; fold, ferment 30 min; fold, ferment 20 min; turn out of bowl, rest 20 min. At this point it calls for dividing into 3 pieces, then shaping very carefully, "being careful not to deflate the dough too much" (you want to preserve the big air bubbles).
Let it rise in couches (en couché) for 45 minutes before baking. I couch in a towel lined with parchment, which makes it easier to transfer the risen loaves to the oven. I just lift the loaf in the parchment and place each loaf, paper and all, directly on the preheated stone. I tried like the photos with the recipe with just a towel, but getting this sticky dough to come cleanly out of the towel didn't work well. I preheat the stone for an hour, starting the oven when I remove the dough from the bowl for the last resting period.
The recipe on the artisanbreadbaking.com
website uses a stand mixer, but I've started doing it all by hand. It just feels right to me to make a traditional bread by traditional methods.