Howard Lawson wrote:
>We have a baking stone but have never used. Will someone please
>comment on how to use it. Specifically:
>l. How to shape the loaf
>2. How long and at what temperature to preheat the stone
>3. How long and at what temperature to bake the loaves (2)
>We are baking a plain white bread made with a combination of
>milk and water. Thanks a lot. Howard(for Howard and Sue)
As far as shaping the loaf goes, the simplest way to describe without
pictures goes like this: Take the (manually or mechanically) already
kneaded ball of dough in your two floured hands. Squeeze with your
fingers and push toward your hands together toward your fingertips.
This stretches the dough on the visible side and sort of folds the
dough from the edges toward the center on the side away from you.
Rotate the dough ball around the Z axis (like a steering wheel) and
repeat the folding/squeezing. Continue for a while. (:-)
This technique produces a round loaf. If you would prefer a somewhat
longer loaf, then (after you have done a bit of this shaping/kneading
technique) just forgo some of the rotation for a while. Turn the ends
under so that you don't have open ends. Pinch together any of the
bottom that appears to be loose so that you won't have a big hole at
the bottom. Then you can set it somewhere (see below) to rise.
I got a stone for Christmas and have been experimenting with it
lately. The technique I have come to most recently, which seems to
work pretty well for me is to prewarm the oven (at the lowest setting
possible) for a few minutes and then leave the oven light on. Then I
shape the loa[f,ves], slash the top(s) and let it/them rise on the
stone. When I see that it/they are ready to bake I just turn on the
oven and bake. I have not really seen that preheating the stone makes
all that much difference.
I bake the recipe I have been working on most lately at 375 for 35-40
minutes. With 2 loaves, the longer time seems slightly better.
Paul Neubauer firstname.lastname@example.org