The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need advice on stencil....

SallyBR's picture

Need advice on stencil....

I know lots of people here do amazing job adding design to breads, making a stencil and sprinkling flour on it.

I tried to do this for the first time, and well.... there is room for improvement


I post a photo here of my final product, and if anyone is interested, a full blog report can be found here


what have I done wrong?   SHould I brush off the flour after baking?  ALmost nothing stuck to the bread once I did that.  Did I add too much flour? Too late in the baking?  Wrong flour? (I added rice flour)

I realize my stencil was too big for the size of the bread, but even if I correct that, I think my technique might have problems too




qahtan's picture

 I have wanted to do this for some long time now, and when I tried I made such a hash up of it, I abandoned the idea, but now you have made me want to try again..

 Do you think there is any where that we could buy a stencil of what we want.....

 All I want is a Q but about 2 inches long, any ideas.. I think yours look great. :-))


SallyBR's picture

I have no idea....


I wanted to make a big S on my upcoming Poilane loaf (for the BBA Challenge), but I think I'll cut it myself, like I did for the ideogram.

I read some place that you should add the detail 10 minutes before the bread comes out of the oven, but it was not easy to lay the paper on top and work on it while the bread is sooo hot.   Maybe there is a better way.....  (fingers crossed)

qahtan's picture

Yes will have to give it more thought.. it would have to be something that will take on the shape of the top of the loaf a bit, so it can't be made of metal, and I don't think plastic would be very good,,,,  I will ask around... qahtan

txfarmer's picture


First I find a nice pattern (in this case, a Chinese character meaning "tea", since I have tea in that sourdough), cut it out on a paper.


Then after proofing, I spray the dough with water, put the paper onto the dough, and shift a combo of AP and rice flour on it

Take away the paper

Score and bake as usual

The pattern really stays, even if I rub on it

SallyBR's picture

Very nice!

I see I made a few boo-boos in my attempt - next time I'll add the design right after proofing as you did.   I think Poilane bread will come in three weeks or so, but I might practice with another sourdough before that.

Your "cha" is very artsy!   beautiful!


Tom214's picture

I was told that the one big thing was to NOT..use Rice flour that it will not stay...then simply mist the dough with cool water then apply regular flour to your stencil...and it will hold up..have had good luck using that formula so far

cherylynnbakeslotsabread's picture

I stencil a lot, unless the bread needs slashing. I did a search for wheat stencils and chose what I liked best for my baking style. A friend with a cricket cutter cuts the more complex ones, otherwise I cut my own. I have found the best stencil material is from the quilt section of the fabric store, its quite the large sheet and very flexible. I trace the design onto the plastic (finding the right pen or marker takes a bit of time) then use a pair of manicure scissors. It’s ok if it looks a bit rough, it won’t show on the bread. 

I use a natural bristle pastry brush or a cheap natural bristle (dedicated) paint brush. My medium is dark cocoa. it helps a bit to lightly spray the area with a bit of water first, but not always necessary. Lightly brush it on, sometimes I will need to go in a couple directions to get coverage. Instant coffee works too, but does tend to run a bit. It also helps to use non stick spray on the back of the stencil as well. You can add little tape ears to make lifitng it off a bit easier or even frame it with some wax paper to prevent over dusting. 

Stenciling is fun. It makes the bread your own. I have even made stencils for dinner rolls which makes for a nice presentation.