Do you want your next bake to stand out? Stenciling is the perfect way to add something unique to your baking process. Whether it’s a special occasion, or just for fun, this simple technique can make your bread extra special.
In this case, stenciling is the practice of applying flour or cocoa powder to your dough, and then using a traditional handmade or store-bought stencil. Stenciling is simply for decorative purposes. It works nicely for special occasions, like a heart for Valentine’s Day, or maybe even your favorite sports team’s logo for a big game. It’s a nice, simple way to add some personality to your bread. As for the stencil itself, you can make them yourself with an X-Acto knife. Or, you can make them with a Cricut Maker machine; it takes digital files and cuts out the stencils for you. Or, as shown in the video above, Greg has found some some items at the hardware store that work quite well. He uses a patterned aluminum vent grate that is easily bent to the shape of your dough.
When you’re scoring a stenciled loaf, you want to make sure that it accentuates the pattern you’ve chosen. For example, if you’re stenciling a boule and place the pattern in the middle of the loaf, you should choose the classic square scoring pattern so that you don’t score through the middle of the design.
Once you’ve gathered all of the things you’ll need to stencil and score your loaf, you can follow the instructions below, or follow along to the video above.
Step 1: Load your dough into the base of your Challenger Bread Pan, or onto a surface where you can easily transport it to the base. With your dry brush, dust off any flour or grains that might be on surface of your dough.
Step 2: Position your stencil on the dough and get your flour ready to dust.
Step 3: Going from top to bottom, lightly dust flour over the stencil. Use your off hand to ensure the stencil stays in constant contact with the dough. Remember — less is more.
Step 4: Score your loaf in a way that accentuates the stencil!