Q&A - Which flour should I dust my table with?

Hi Jack, thank you for your videos. My question is about the flour you use for your bread making. I am using Allinson strong white bread flour and when you are dusting the table to shape, your flour appears more dusty for want of a better description.

Which flour should I dust my table with?


When I am shaping the dough, I'll just dust with whatever I am using at the time, normally white. I use the least as I can possibly get away with, and try to flick it across the table to cover as much surface as possible with a very fine amount.

When it comes to the finish of your bread you can use whatever you like. Experiment with different types, I often dust with wholemeal flour when I am making a rustic looking bread because it adds to the effect, where as semolina will leave you with a crunchy coating.

Making the most of leftover bread dough, two yummy ideas to use it up

Leftovers leftovers leftovers...

Oftentimes I have so much dough left over from various bits and bobs... courses, workshops and demonstrations often leave me with bowls of dough overflowing in the car or the fridge, but it never goes to waste!

Take my most recent recipe for example, the Pane di Pasqua. It's a traditional Italian Easter bread and I spent quite a lot of time, and dough, creating my own version for my new Easter bread making course, and again, to bring the recipe to you. I had so much dough left over after my trials. Fortunately, it's a rather tasty number, so not too tricky to use up!

So, with a bit of knowhow I was able to create a couple of tasty things with it and I thought I would share those two ideas with you for a couple of reasons. One is that there should be no real reason why a dough should ever get binned, and secondly because with the same knowhow that I have, you can try out whatever you like with any leftover dough you might have too! That’s why I try to share as much as possible with you in various articles and videos.

So here are two ideas to use up leftover Pane di Pasqua dough, or any sweet bun dough for that matter. Iced ring doughnuts baked in the oven for minimum hassle, and an enriched loaf fit for toasting and buttering on the side of a strong coffee.

All that is left to do then is eat them all up... easy!


Baked Doughnuts

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Rolled out to a thickness of about 2cm, you can cut your dough with pastry cutters into these little ring doughnuts. I got about 14 out of half of a batch of dough in the end.

Line them up on a parchment lined tray, brush them with a little olive oil, and let them prove up for 45 minutes or so.

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Bake them in the oven at 180°C Fan/Gas mark 5 for 8-10 minutes. Any longer and they will dry out too much and become crunchy. Let them cool.

Mix the juice of half a lemon or orange with enough icing sugar to make an icing thick enough to coat the top of a doughnut without dripping too much, add a little food colouring if you wish. You can use water for your icing but I feel like a little citrus juice really takes the edge off the sweetness. Dip a tester one before you dip them all to check for the right consistency. Adjust it if you need to and then dip the rest.

Add some sprinkles of choice to finish, in my case pearl sugar.


Pane di Pasqua Loaf

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For this one I used around half the quantity of dough I had left after a Pane di pasqua trial. So, a whole batch will make 2.

Shape your dough into a tight round ball, and let it rest and relax on the table for 15-25 minutes.

Flip over your dough onto a lightly dusted surface, press it slightly to flatten and roll it up like a swiss roll. Seal the edge by pinching with your fingers. Place it on a parchment lined tray.

Beat an egg in a cup and brush the top with a thin layer of the egg wash. Then with a serrated knife or a Grignette make diagonal cuts across the whole length of the loaf, around half a centimetre deep.

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Sprinkle a little pearl sugar over to stick and allow 45-60 minutes for the loaf to prove up nicely.

Bake in the oven at 180°C Fan/Gas mark 5 for 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

 

 

 


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Q&A - Is it ok to add flour if I'm struggling with a wet dough?

Is it OK to add flour when I first mix the dough to get it to the right moisture level and consistency?

I feel like I should add a bit more flour so the dough is not quite as wet, so I can give it the tension it needs when I shape it, or do I need to get the moisture right from the start?


No and yes... Adding flour to get the "right" consistency is not really the point. The point is to get the hydration just how you want it in the first place, because by adding flour you are changing the recipe and therefore changing the hydration rate which makes the recipe redundant.

A wetter dough will bring different characteristics to the bread. There is no point making a wet dough to get a specific texture of bread, and then adding flour to make the consistency manageable, because then it's not a wet dough anymore and you lose the characteristics.

I never add additional flour, and only dust where necessary during the shaping stage.

If you are struggling with a wet dough here's what I would do... First do some bread maths to work out the hydration of your recipe. (This video will help)

Then, instead of adding flour, remove some of the moisture from the recipe to make it the manageable dough that you are comfortable handling. Yes, it will still change the recipe but in a much more controllable way. Write down what you did, how you found handling the dough, and how the bread was in the end.

Next time around, crank up the hydration a touch. Get the feel of the wetter dough and see how you feel about it. Keep upping the moisture each time you make one. Then after enough practice you'll be able to handle a wet dough like a pro, or at least you’ll discover the level you are comfortable with.

Here’s a tip: If your dough turns out too wet to shape up, cut your losses and make the best focaccia you’ve ever eaten!