BAKER’S TOPIC – final cob tightening
During the last Baker’s Topic you were shown how to form a cob.
Now we are going to take it a step further by showing how you you rub the piece forwards up the table to make it properly tight as a finished shape should be.
The first pic shows the beginning of the stroke:
See the tension being placed on the piece as it is rubbed forward, the puffy part of the hand where the thumb meets the palm is doing the work. Pay careful attention to: making sure you keep to the very bottom the gathered clump of ragged edges that have been turned inwards by the cob shaping; avoid hooking your hand around at the end of the stroke – your hand must thrust forwards only. There must be no dusting flour on the bench, otherwise you skid in the dust, achieving nothing. Without dust, the bottom of the piece slightly sticks to the bench, increasing the needed tension.
The forward rubbing features a steep hand, with the hand on edge, open palm, a vertical line from little finger to thumb. You push forward as well as pulling downwards on the piece as it is stroked forward. (The other hand is held aside, doing nothing at this point, indeed superfluous).
As it thrusts forward, the hand goes slightly past the piece. When the piece has been thrust so far forward that you are a little awkward and off balance, and you run the risk of pushing it off its axis so that the rough patch is no longer at the bottom, you must stop the forward stroking.
The above shows that you now grip it with both hands and tug it backwards so that it is close to you, and your hand is in a comfortable position to begin the forward thrusting again, as below:
Now you have all the tricks to give any cob a final tightening.
Good baking, Paul