Technique: How to form dough balls
When pulling beautiful pieces of risen dough to form smaller balls, there is a technique involved to remove the folds that naturally occur in the dough from being pulled and shaped. Those folds don’t bake properly and have to be worked out of the dough.
This is especially so with heavier doughs like the one made for ka’ik, Lebanese sweet bread. With soft doughs, the folds are not prominent and bake out fine.
Here’s how to form your dough balls from the risen dough, before they rest for a second rise:
- Pull a piece of dough from the large mass that has just risen and fold its edges under to create a smooth outer skin on top of the dough ball.
- Place the dough ball, seam-side down, on an unfloured surface. The stickiness of the dough on the work surface will be your friend here.
- Palm the dough with a slightly cupped hand (there is a kind of tension created on the dough ball between the palm and the sides of the hand). Pushing down on the dough ball, roll the ball round and round under the palm, using the cupped sides of the hand to keep the ball centered under your palm. This will create surface tension and “stitch” the bottom seams together. Don’t be surprised if this takes more doing than seems reasonable.
- Check the bottom of the ball as you work to be sure the folds have been incorporated and have disappeared. Now you have a homogenous ball of dough, ready to rise again.
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