Formatura del Pane

Bread forming

Bread shaping is the art of giving shape to the dough before the final leavening and baking stage. It is a critical step that not only determines the aesthetic appearance of the bread, but also affects the internal structure and baking characteristics of the finished product.

Key Steps in Bread Shaping:

  1. Portioning :

    • After the first leavening process, the dough is divided into uniform portions. Precision in the weight of portions is essential to ensure uniform cooking and the consistency of the finished product.
  2. Pirlatura :

    • Pirling is the process of rounding the dough to make the surface smooth and taut. This step is crucial for establishing the surface tension of the dough, which helps the bread maintain its shape during rising and baking.
  3. Final shaping :

    • Depending on the type of bread desired, the dough can be shaped into different shapes such as baguettes, loaves, rolls, etc. Each shape may require specific techniques, such as rolling, folding or cutting, which not only give the bread its characteristic appearance but also affect the crust and crumb.
    • During shaping, it is essential to handle the dough gently to avoid completely degassing it, thus maintaining the air bubbles produced during fermentation.
  4. Last leavening (Staglio) :

    • After shaping, the bread is left to rest for the final leavening, also called staglio. During this period, the gluten relaxes further and the dough increases in volume. The duration and conditions of this leavening may vary based on temperature, humidity and the specific recipe.
  5. Scoring (Cuts) :

    • Just before baking, the surface of the bread is scored with slits which not only improve the aesthetic appearance, but also allow the bread to expand in a controlled manner during baking. These cuts can be functional or decorative and are essential for preventing the bread from bursting in unwanted places.

Bread shaping requires skill and precision, and experience plays a crucial role in determining the best times and techniques. A good baker learns to "feel" when the dough is ready to be formed and subsequently baked, based on the consistency, elasticity and response of the dough.

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