The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

bread shaping

rozzibread's picture

Baking Tartine Country Bread

October 29, 2012 - 6:32am -- rozzibread

Just started making the Country Bread "Tartine" recipe... the bread is great, but after the final proof, the loaves are too big for my cooking vessels.


1) I need bigger vessels. One is a Le Creuset 9" round pot, the other a ceramic 9.5" deep pot.


2) I might need smaller brotforms. The brots I use are also 9" in diameter. Is there something formulaic about using a smaller proofing basket than your baking vessel?

Mebake's picture

This is an illustration i made of shaping a Sandwich loaf, that i wanted to share with you all.



nadira2100's picture

In an effort to practice my shaping techniques I decided to make Pain de Campagne from Peter Reinharts The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I think I've got shaping loaves down (as in shape and stick in a pan where the pan does most of the work), and I'm on my way to perfecting boules but I haven't really tried any other shapes. This recipe seemed pretty straight forward since it's basically just salt, flour yeast and water. I made a preferment 3 days before mixing the final dough, and used 1.5oz Rye instead of whole wheat. The book says the recipe makes 3 loaves or multiple rolls. I didn't realize this meant 3 little loaves.....

Anyway, it was late at night and I flaked a bit when it came to taking pictures during my shaping process but here are the final results. I tried the epi, the couronne, and the fendu. I was most pleased with the "wheat stalk"....even though I made the cuts before proofing rather than after (whoops). The crown and the split loaf definitely need a ton more work. Especially since my split loaf wasn't really split...

But...practice makes perfect right? Guess I'll just have to make more dough to practice with (darn!). 

And since this is my first time making this type of bread, I wasn't hopeful that my crumb would turn out like it should....but I was pleasantly surprised that the crust was REALLY crusty and the crumb was soft, moist and creamy. So what do you think? Did I get the crumb right at least?


Polish Babka's picture

Bread with a hump on the side

June 19, 2011 - 5:59pm -- Polish Babka


Sometimes my bread grows a hump during baking. It comes out usually later during the bake and always from a side. It doesn't happy very often but I'm wondering what is the problem.

Could it be underproofed or is it bad shaping, bad slashing? It happens only with batards, I proof them in bannetones or free form.

Any ideas how to fix it?



dmsnyder's picture

I think I know at least 6 different ways of shaping bâtards. I often choose how I shape them on impulse. This weekend, I decided to be a bit more reflective and consciously chose 3 variations to try. I think I gained better control over bâtard shaping as a result.

I made two loaves of Hamelman's Pain au Levain from “Bread” and two loaves of my San Joaquin Sourdough.

The first loaf was shaped using one of the methods learned from the San Francisco Baking Institute. I can't recall seeing this method demonstrated elsewhere.

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's "Bread," shaped using Method 1.

Method 1

  1. Pre-shape as a log. Rest 20 minutes, seam side up, covered.

  2. Place the piece on the board with one short side closest to you. De-gas.

  3. Take the far edge and fold it towards you about 1/3 of the length of the piece. Seal the seams.

  4. Fold the left side 1/3 of the way towards the middle and seal the seams. Repeat for the right side.

  5. Starting with the far end, roll the piece towards you, sealing the seam with the edge or heel of your hand at each turn. Seal the final seam well.

  6. Turn the loaf seam side down and roll it to even out the shape and achieve the desired length.

This method is suitable to make a bâtard with a fat middle and little tapering, as pictured.

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's "Bread," shaped using Method 2.

Method 2

  1. Pre-shape as a log. Rest 20 minutes, seam side up, covered.

  2. Place the piece on the board with a wide side closest to you. De-gas.

  3. Fold the far side to the middle. Seal the seam.

  4. Rotate the piece 180º.

  5. Fold the far side 2/3 of the way towards you. Seal the seam.

  6. Grasp the far edge and bring it all the way over the piece, to the board and seal the seam. (Essentially, this is the method traditionally used to shape baguettes.)

  7. Turn the loaf seam side down and roll it to even out the shape and achieve the desired length.

This method makes a longer, thinner loaf with more tapered ends.

The two loaves of Pain au Levain after shaping and scoring - ready to bake. Note that these loaves were of identical weight.

San Joaquin Sourdoughs, both shaped using Method 3.

Method 3

  1. Pre-shape as a ball. Rest 20 minutes, seam side up, covered.

  2. Place the piece on the board. De-gas.

  3. Proceed as in Method 2, steps 3 through 7.

This method results in a loaf similar to that from using Method 2, except a bit thicker in the middle. It solves a problem I have had shaping bâtards with higher-hydration doughs with excessive extensibility. They tend to get too long and thin as I shape them, even before the final rolling out. Starting with a round piece of dough, rather than a log, helps me get the shape I want.  

Thanks for listening.

Happy Baking!


mcs's picture

Hey TFLers,
This is a short no-frills video re-visiting some of the parts of shaping that I feel are important.  In the beginning I demonstrate slowly using a damp dishcloth, then I use the same technique with a few different doughs.  Lastly, I use a slight modification on the technique to form a couple of boules.  Enjoy. 




Bill and Annie's picture

Challah Bread, "Shaping"

December 8, 2010 - 9:14am -- Bill and Annie

My wife and I love Challah and use it for a lot of sandwiches.  My problem is the shaping. I would like to step away from tradition and just make regular loafs. The traditional braiding looks beautiful but it does not make good sandwiches or substantial pieces of French Toast. Is their any special steps that have to be taken to achieve my desired results without causing anyone to gasp?


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