Stone begins cutting off small chunks of dough, then shapes each into a loose ball. After a brief rest on the folding table, each ball is then flattened into a disc. Stambler demonstrates how to fold the disc in half like a calzone, firmly close the edges and then shape it into a chubby bâtard. Stambler and Stone rest each oblong round among the accordion-like folds of a couche, the stiff canvas cloths that French bakers use to help absorb moisture in order to develop a crispy crust (the rye loaves are already nestled in couche-lined round bread baskets).
Once all the loaves are resting in the refrigerator, Stambler surveys his flour-dusted kitchen. "The agreement that I have with my wife is that the kitchen cannot look like there has been any bread baking going on when she gets home," he says.