Using a Flouring Station to Shape Bread

A flouring station offers excellent control when shaping loaves of bread because it reduces your chances of overflouring the dough. Here's how to make one.

Shaping free-form breads is as much about creating a smooth skin on the exterior as it is about producing the proper shape. A taut exterior helps the loaf expand evenly, and the resistance created between the work surface and the dough plays a critical role. As you are working the dough, that resistance between the counter and the dough will allow you to produce that essential tight skin. To do the job, the loaf shouldn’t slide around freely or be so tacky that it sticks and tears. The best way to achieve this slightly dry state is to avoid flouring the work surface itself—it’s too easy to overflour—and instead flour an adjacent area to create a flouring station, where you can transfer the loaf for flouring as needed.

Lightly flour area adjacent to work surface. Gently press unshaped dough into flour once or twice to coat underside, then transfer to work surface and shape. Press dough lightly in floured area as needed to prevent sticking.

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