“Beksul” vs “King Arthur” flours: shaping

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November 20, 2012 by ka101010

After the doughs proofed for 2 hours, I placed them in the fridge to chill.  Why chill ’em?  Since this is a high-hydration dough, it is very tacky and soft compared to traditionally kneaded doughs made with with pre-ferments and high(er) gluten bread flour, thus chilling the dough makes it easier to handle.  In addition, this recipe was formulated for storage in the fridge (up to 2 weeks).

I removed the doughs from the fridge and measured each chunk of dough to 16oz/0.45kg, then shaped each dough into a round boule (dusting each dough with their respective flours to aid in the handling).  Here’s what they looked like:

King Arthur (right) seemed a little harder to handle that day, and perhaps needed a wee bit more time in the fridge. The dough was very sticky and kinda lumpy, and it was difficult to achieve a nice smooth surface on the top of the boule. I had to take care not to overwork the dough, for fear of degassing it too much. I was a little worried that the visibly uneven surface tension would affect the rise, and therefore the crumb. Disclaimer: I still haven’t achieved a boulangère’s efficiency and accuracy when it comes to shaping, but hoping to get there someday!

Beksul (left), on the other hand, was much easier to handlle. Dough was smooth, easily pliable. Surface tension on the top of the boule was easier to achieve, as evidenced by the pic above.

Once shaped, each boule was placed on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal, dusted with its respective flours, covered loosely with clear wrap, and allowed to proof for 90 min.

About my Samsung home oven: the unruly variable
Each boule was baked individually due to the lack of space in my Samsung home oven and my concerns over uneven heat distribution. The Samsung home oven used in this test has a manual temperature dial, so temp has to be measured via oven thermometer to ensure accuracy.  Thanks to the manual dial, one spends lots of time hoping that a 1 mm turn of the dial will equal desired temp, I’ll end the rant here.

Each boule had 90 min proof time before going into a 500F/246C oven fitted with a steam pan, and water spritzed on the walls of the oven in 30 second intervals during the first 2 min of baking. I then turned the oven temp down to 450F/232C for the remaining 30 min of baking time.
And don’t get me wrong, I love that I have an oven in Seoul.  My Samsung oven goes to 300C/572F (which makes for infinitely better pizzas)!  As a cook more and more, I am discovering new ways to work with the oven.

Next: Final results of the Beksul/King Arthur Flour Showdown!

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