I have invented a new shape of bread this weekend.
It is inspired by the french tradition, and I think is bound to oust the baguette and batard from their pace at the front of bakery windows
voila le beret!
I must warn you that mastering this bread shape takes considerable skill. I am not sure whether it can be adequately described, or whether it is one of those techniques that can only really be appreciated by watching a master at work.
1. Take a regular sourdough recipe - in this case Dan Lepard's potato sourdough
2. Stuff up the hydration by using your starter at 100% instead of 80% as the recipe suggests. (It also helps if you are using English flour that doesn't absorb as much water as the Australian stuff)
3. Make sure that the dough is well an truly overproved. My technique is to prove in the fridge overnight, shape into a boule (difficult because of part 2), then leave out for several hours while you are busy cleaning the house. Then defer baking when the dough should have been baked because you need to bake some croissants.
4. When unmoulding the dough use a peel that is too small so that the dough threatens to fall off on to the floor and flows over the sides
5. When transferring the dough make sure that it sticks to the peel (easier if you have mastered step 4)
6. Slide the dough onto your oven stone, but ensure that it flows over the edge of the stone (to get the 'lip' of the beret)
7. Finally make sure that you are using a crappy gas oven, so that one edge is undercooked, and the other edge is burnt