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The bench rest. What is it and why it’s important.

As a #homebaker, you probably only make 1-3 loaves at a time, and typically they’ll be mixed in their own bowl.

Compare this to a bakery making dozens or hundreds of loaves at a time. The dough proofs in huugggeee bins. Then it’s spilled out on to a bench, portioned, and pre-rounded. By the time you’ve pre-rounded them all and you go back and start shaping them, the dough has rested. Then by the time you’re done shaping them all and you go back and put them all in baskets, again the dough has rested.

Now back to the home baker who can often neglects this crucial step that is built in to the bakery baker’s workflow because they are only doing 1-3 at a time.

Why is it crucial? The dough isn’t covered. The outside skin of the dough, the one that’s eventually in contact with the basket, is exposed to air.

That tiny little detail, often overlooked by home bakers, leads to the dreaded basket stick 😭😭

This tip I learned from watching bakers in bakeries. I was like oh wow the dough is uncovered for a long time, wouldn’t that dry out the outer layer of the dough ball? Yeah. A bit. That’s the point. It’s easier to shape and it less likely to stick to your basket.

For me it was a game changer. I even do this when I make pizza now, I let the dough rest uncovered for about an hour before I bake. It’s long enough for the outer layer to dry out a tad, not long enough for it to form a skin. It helps it not stick to the peel just like it helps it not stick to the basket.

Finding that perfect amount of time will require you to run some experiments because it’s different by climate. For me it’s about an hour right now. But when it’s warmer and dryer, 30 minutes is fine.

Give it a try!
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