Community member Mebakes has created a few helpful diagrams showing how to shape loaves.
Bread can take just about any shape you desire, from sandwich loaves to mock turkeys. It’s hard to learn how to shape loaves from written descriptions, however. So, instead of writing up how to shape loaves, here are links to YouTube videos that do a good job of showing how it’s done.
Before you shape the dough, you’ll want to pre-shape it first. There are two basic pre-shapes. The first, a basic oval or rectangle, is shown in the sandwich loaf video. The second, a round, is exactly the same as making a round loaf.
Sandwich loaf (Jeff, Aurora and Iris) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_3zBaKkxMY
Oval loaf (batard) (Floyd Mann) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqzRprovXTU
Round loaf (boule) (Fourno Bravo) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5t-1sJwzFs
You’ll want a safe place for your shaped loaf to rise. Bannetons are wonderful for round loaves – you can buy these at King Arthur Flour (http://www.kingarthurflour.com). But you can also take a colander or a large bowl and line it with either baker’s linen (also at King Arthur Flour) or a linen napkin dusted liberally with either white flour or, even better, white rice flour (NOTHING sticks to this stuff – it’s great).
For an oval loaf, simply place the loaf on a dusted linen napkin or baker’s linen and bunch up the cloth on both sides. If you like, you can brace it with glasses on either side to keep it in place.
While it rises, make sure it’s covered so that the surface doesn’t dry out and form a crust.