Dusting Flour Techniques

Dusting of flour is one of the basic skills that all bakers should acquire. Once dusted, a fine layer of flour prevents a piece of dough from sticking to a surface, minimizing any damage to the dough.  In the bread baking process, flour is dusted onto the dough and the work surface during dough handling processes, such as dividing, preshaping and final shaping.  Dusting flour is also used on a table to roll out pie dough, or to cut out cookies. In this video, we are introducing several different scenarios that dusting flour is used in bread process.

Dusting by hand or with a sifter
To dust flour onto a work surface, dusting by hand is the most efficient way. The key is not to grab a lot of flour. Pinch a small amount of flour in your fingers and throw it with a flick of your wrist, just like skipping a stone. Using this method, the surface is coated with a minimal amount of flour.
When dusting a table for dividing very soft dough that does not require shaping, such as ciabatta, use a sifter to make a thick, even layer of flour. Because ciabatta is not getting shaped, there is no need to worry about too much flour from the table becoming incorporated into the loaf.
Dusting bread baskets should be done by sifter as well. Tap the sifter, instead of shaking, in order to create an even coating. Be gentle when moving baskets that have already been dusted. If they are shaken, flour on the sides will fall.

Types of flour
In general, bread flour is used for dusting. Because of its higher protein content, bread flour is less likely to have lumps and provides a more even coverage. Pastry and cake flours are not suited for dusting, because they tend to have many lumps due to their higher starch contents.

For dusting baskets for loaves made with very wet dough, (with a hydration of 73% and above for white flour based dough, ) a use of rice flour is recommended to prevent the dough from sticking to baskets. A mixture of equal parts bread flour and rice flour is recommended.  Dark rye flour or wheat bran can be added to give extra character to the loaves.