The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Shaping

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Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Shaping

I make great tasting loaves with good crumb (thanks to many at this forum), but still my shaping leaves much to be desired. I'm having trouble with the seam on the bottom of the loaf and at the ends. I get great surface tension, but how do you smooth away the seams. I've tried pinching, rolling like a clay snake but there is always a definite seam looking like I could unroll the loaf, even when baked. Does that make sense? It looks great from the top and no one ever looks at the bottom, but it bugs me. Any advice? Thanks

Darkstar's picture
Darkstar

I'm in the same boat Paddyscake except my loaves turn out very nice where crust and crumb are concerned but if I try to make a long loaf to chuck on to my oven-stone it comes out shaped all weird.

 

I'm interested in any and all help in this regard too. Thanks in advance all.

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Shaping is difficult, and comes with practice. That's one thing I like about taking a class as you can shape 30 loaves in a day! But even a small batch of french bread shaped into demi-baguettes (7 ounces each) can give you some good practice too.

 

My last sealing of the seam is done with the lower palm of my hand. I have the seam close to the counter facing me, and I press into the counter with the lower palm along the length of the loaf. Then I'll give it a little roll back and forth to "erase" the seam. (for baguettes, this also adds a little length and evens out any inconsistencies in the diameter of the loaf too).

 

For round loaves, I hold the around in both hands and pull it around in a circle, letting the natural stickiness of the loaf on the counter add surface tension and eliminate most of the seam.

 

Keeping the dough a little tacky and not having flour inside the seams would help too. Where are you rising it? Parchment, basket, etc? I used to rise loaves seam side up in a long basket so I could flip them out onto the peel. Now I usually rise them seam-side down on folded linen. I think the seams open up less when they rise right-side up.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I will definitely try your method of pressing with the lower palm tomorrow with Floyd's Stinky cheese bread (great stuff!!).

I don't have any flour in the seams. I do my final rise on parchment paper, seam side down. What do you mean when you say you think the seams open up less when they are right side up? Does that mean seam side down?

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Sorry if that wasn't clear, I meant seam-side down. If you were rising in a brotform or lined basket, you usually put loves upside down (seam-side up) and then flip them out gently onto your peel or baking sheet before baking. And sometimes you can have trouble with seams opening up because of gravity :)

 

Good luck!

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Thanks for clarifying. I wasn't even thinking about what you would do if using a brotform.

I did use the heel of my palm when shaping today's loaves and it worked like a charm..No seam!! Thanks!

beanfromex's picture
beanfromex

God to man as man to animal.

 

HI there,

 

Try PBS, Julia Child with master chef series. There is a good video on shaping 12 oz bataars (sp?)