The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to transfer shaped loaf to pizza stone without losing all the gas/shape?

venkitac's picture

How to transfer shaped loaf to pizza stone without losing all the gas/shape?

Hi, I'm a newbie bread baker, I try to bake whole wheat or french bread or sometimes, wet-dough breads like ciabatta. I have 2 problems which repeatedly happen:


1. I cannot transfer the dough from the place I shaped it & proofed it, to the hot pizza stone. Either I mess up the shape, or much worse, sometimes it sticks and then I fight with it, losing all the gas and I'm back to square one. I tried sprikling coarse oatmeal in the pan where I did the shaping/proofing, which helped some, but not a lot. So I ended up shaping/proofing on the cold pizza stone and then putting the whole stone into the oven after it reaches the right temp, but that isn't so great. What am I doing wrong? Is there a "right" technique?


2. After shaping, the dough rises and then loses shape. After reading thru the forums, it seems like folding is the only answer, does that seem right?


Thanks much!

LindyD's picture

Parchment paper, that is.   Proof your bread on parchment, then transfer parchment and bread to your preheated stone.  Works like a charm every time.

As to No. 2, could it be that you're overproofing?  You want to get the bread into the oven when it is 85-90% proofed.


xaipete's picture

I 2nd rule no. 2. Make sure you don't overproof.


venkitac's picture

Thanks! Let me try with parchment, too.

LindyD's picture

The parchment.  Just be gentle loading the oven.  Sometimes I've gotten over-enthused and wind up facing the challenge of retrieving a baguette or bagel off the oven floor (while muttering unladylike words)!

And welcome to TFL!


Janknitz's picture

Parchment is an absolute necessity with very wet doughs, but shop around a bit. 

Whole Foods carries a brand of parchment I really like called "Because we care".  It is unbleached, rated to 450 degrees F and can be recycled after multiple uses. 

Most grocery stores carry Reynolds brand.  That is only rated to 425 degrees so the edges tend to burn in hotter ovens--it's bleached and can't be reused if the edges burn. I think the Whole Foods brand is a little less expensive counting in the fact that you can more easily reuse the sheets.  I like the width better too--less waste. 

Others here on TFL purchase pan-sized sheets of parchment from various sources for good bulk prices, but it's too much for me to spend at one time.  Try to avoid parchment with Quillon-- it contains a compound that's not good for the environment. 

flournwater's picture

One small item that might help.  If you don't have a peel upon which to place your parchment paper and from which you can slide the loaf (parchment paper and all) into the oven, you might try a rimless cookie sheet.  They're less expensive, when compared to the wooden or metal peel, and they work fine.

sphealey's picture

I prefer not to cook things on/in silicone (which is what modern parchament paper is coated with).  I use a maple peel with a thin but even sprinkling of semolina (medium or medium-fine grind).  Maple+semolina is quite slippery and the loaf usually slides right off.



venkitac's picture

That's interesting - do you use the super-peel? I searched for "maple peel" and came with the "cooks illustrated recommended maple super-peel" repeatedly.





bakermomof4's picture

Not sure where you live, but here in California we have Smart & Final Stores that are a warehouse type store with no membership. I purchase on the aisle that they have all the baking pans, a package of 100 sheets of parchment paper for less than $4.00. These are full sheet size so I cut them in half to have the size of a regular baking sheet or use 1/4 sheets to put under boules. I have a wooden peel, but I tend to use a baking/cookie sheet flipped upside down with the parchment on it to let the bread rise, then slide it from that to the baking stone.

Baker_Dan's picture

Before I got my first peel, I used the inverted cookie sheet method. I liberally floured the underside and let the loaf proof right on there. Sometimes I had to give it a little help sliding on to the stone, but it rarely hurt the bread in any way. This also works if you're visiting friends or family and don't have the proper equipment.

DerekL's picture

Seconding flournwater's post - and adding that you also use the back of a regular cookie sheet if you don't have a rimmed one.

Janknitz's picture

I purchased a "baking mat" (essentially a thin sheet of plastic for rolling out cookie dough) at the Dollar Store (for-you guessed it-a dollar). this makes a perfect "peel" in a pinch. Instead of schlepping my peel on a trip last week to visit family, I took along the mat and it worked great for putting pizzas and bred into the oven.

Dragonbones's picture

A very thick, stiff piece of corrugated cardboard with parchment paper atop it, coated with cornmeal or semolina, works in a pinch if you don't have a peel.  I can't find peels OR rimless cookie sheets here in Taiwan, so this is what I'm using (cut from the heavy duty box my oven came in) and it works fine.

cake diva's picture
cake diva

Great idea, Dragonbones!  Corrugated board should work!  I myself was never tempted to buy a peel.  I use my wood chopping board instead.

dausone's picture

Second the semolina and wood chopping board. Works great every time.

Dragonbones's picture

Yeah, I tried that too, but the cardboard, being thinner, meant that there wasn't any drop-off for the dough, so there is less potential deflation (not that it would make a big diff). An aluminum clipboard or any old piece of clean sheet metal would work too. I still want a peel hanging on my wall, that and a couple copper pots, just for ambiance, ha ha.

EDIT: My sassafras peel from the US arrived in Taiwan today (they're unavailable here). Typical irony: marked Made in Taiwan.