The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need some help with "epis" shape

SallyBR's picture

Need some help with "epis" shape

Please, be kind and don't laugh too much. 

Evidently I need help to get the "epis" shape right.   What have I done wrong?   I suspect the cutting needed to be more parallel and deeper, but... if anyone has precise advice, I would love to hear.

the bread is part of the BBA Challenge, made with the dough from "Pain de Campagne"


I include two photos, of the dough cut, before the second rise - and the final product... (sigh)

montanagrandma's picture

but the picture looks lke the dough is longer and thinner, yours looks like it had too much dough thickness? I have not tried this myself, so I can say that your attempt looks good to me!

marc's picture

From your image, it looks to me like the scissor cuts were done from the side except for the top one (lower right of the image). I did mine all from the TOP and then pull the dough off to the side, alternating of course. Regardless of your final result, the bread looks delicious!

LindyD's picture

Your scissors should be held at a 30 degree angle, then you cut three-quarters of the way through the baguette.  Makes no difference which end you start at.  You move the "kernel" to one side then make the next cut about 1.5 inches from the first cut, place that "kernel" to the other side, and move to the next cut.

This instruction is from his book Baking Artisan Bread.  I've seen a video of it being done, but can't recall where.  Maybe on the DVD that came with the book...

David Snyder did an epis not long ago; maybe he'll pop in with some suggestions.

I've never tried making an epis; think I'll experiment with a log of play-dough first!

dmsnyder's picture

Please, be kind and don't laugh too much. 

Hi, Sally.

I'm glad you provided that guidance. I laughed just a little bit.

In the first place, you need to form a baguette. Your photo looks like that step was skipped. So, you now have your nicely formed baguette lying on your bench and a sharp kitchen scissors in your hand.

You are going to be cutting across the baguette every 3-4 inches, starting at the far end (the left end, if you are right handed) holding your scissor blades at about a 30º angle to the loaf, with the blades parallel to the loaf. Your cuts should be almost through the whole thickness of the loaf, leaving just a thin "backbone."

As you make each cut, swing the piece you just snipped to the side, alternating right and left sides.

From your photo, it looks like you cut the dough from the sides. If so, that won't work. You cut the top of the loaf.

There is a nice video on, but they are no requiring registration to view, and I'm still waiting for their blessing. The best I can do is show you the épi I made. If you scroll down, there are some instructions. See My first Épi de Blé.

I hope this helps. If I were making baguettes today, I'd make a video for you.


Ria's picture

I feel your's horrible when you try hard to make something and it doesn't work in the end. This evening I had baguettes rising on the kitchen counter inside a white trash bag. We had company for dinner; I figured my rising dough was safe. Nope. I found that a guest had placed a used dinner plate smack on top of my baguettes. I had no choice but to continue and cook them. Let's just say they wouldn't win any awards for visual appeal. My son looked at one of the sorry misshapen loaves and said, "Wow...this looks sort of like an inchworm." Sigh.

Try your bread again, adjusting the scissor angle. If your bread tastes as good as it looks, you are doing something right!


SallyBR's picture

When my husband first saw the bread, he smiled and said that from a particular angle it looked like a "chubby squirrel"



nbicomputers's picture

Just say to your hubby

"thank you dear...that was funny... you look tired why don't you just" and give him a evel smille

i'l be willing to bet he will be drinking black coffee all night long

Yumarama's picture

Hopefully this will work...

Mine sorta kinda came out like that... They were okay for a first ever try. 

mcs's picture


Step 1: Go to Le Petit Boulanger and check out their most excellent Vidéos

Step 2:  go down to the bottom right and click on ' La coupe en epi'

It'll download the video file, but don't worry it doesn't have any viruses.

Step 3: imitate them

Just as a reference point, I normally use 16 ounces of dough for my 24 inch long baguettes.  For an epi, I use 12 ounces of dough and roll it also to 24 inches long.

Good luck.


SallyBR's picture

You guys are awesome!

WHy didn't I come here BEFORE cutting my bread?  That is the million dollar question!


Ok, I think I'll try this shaping again very soon.  David, you are right in the assumption I did not form a baguette. Actually, I am so upset with my  baguette shaping, that I just formed a loaf but did not stretch it very thin.

Maybe I should perfect the baguette first, and try the epis cut next....


at any rate, I WILL MAKE THIS WORK.  



dmsnyder's picture

Both the videos are good. Also, both BBA and Bread have instructions for making épis. Take a look at them.

I don't see any way around having to shape a baguette. You might consider that it may not need to be quite as perfect as you would like, if you are going to be cutting it up anyway.

Good luck!