Welcome to Part Two in this skills training mini-series. To “mould” is the baker’s term for final shaping of a loaf.
- Pt. 1: Dividing The Dough, “Air Fold”
- Pt. 2: Moulding A Cob
- Pt. 3: Professional Cob Moulding With Testing For Readiness
Shown in this video:
This video has several facets. It begins by showing the professional baker’s twin actions by having a piece in each hand. That is introduced here not for reasons of showing off, but to show the student the origin of the single-handed exercise before it is presented with the teaching name of “12 to 6, quarter-turn”.
Finally,in an unspoken way, this video also shows the student, fresh from Air-fold (dealt with in the previous video), how a gentle application of 12 to 6, quarter-turn, without any tight finishing strokes, can make a softish roundel suited to be put aside for “intermediate rest”.
I implore a keen student to get the hang of 12 to 6, quarter-turn as soon as possible. It is such a useful skill to be able to take a piece and turn it briskly into a round shape, whether loosely shaped to be left to rest or to pop it on a tray or board as a tightly finished cob.
The “12 to 6, quarter-turn” action
You take the resting hemisphere that is soft enough to mould and turn it over so that the dusty rougher parts of it face upwards and the smooth top part of the hemisphere is now downwards on the bench. Begin by patting out the gas.
Then you perform a series of the same actions, repeated four or five times: grip the top of the piece flattened on the bench in front of you, imagine it represents 12 on the clock face, and bring it all the way down to 6 o’clock.
Give it a quarter-turn, which swings an end piece up to 12 o’clock. Pat it and push downwards to firmly adhere the two halves together, then reach out to grip it again at 12 to bring it smartly down to 6. Pat it down, and repeat, and so on.
For the quarter-turns, remember to always turn it in the same direction throughout. After four or five manipulations that keep halving its area on the bench it will appear almost like a ball, you almost have your finished cob.
Finishing strokes for tightness
To finish you thrust it forward with your leading hand, while drawing it back towards you in an under-cutting motion with your support hand. That action repeated a few times renders it sufficiently tight, and should expel any unwanted pockets of gas.
The tightly finished cobs can be placed to prove on baking trays, or on dusty boards if you are going to load them into your oven with a peel. Cover them.
Another glimpse of the craftsman baker with a piece in each hand, and including a section on how to test that the resting dough is ready for moulding. Click here for the Part Three.