The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need help with shaping a loaf...

BettyR's picture

Need help with shaping a loaf...

Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong. Every time I try to shape a traditional loaf of bread this is what I get.




jstreed1476's picture

this happened to me before I started really pressing down on the seam while rolling up the dough. That is, rolling it up a bit, pressing down the seam where the rolled and unrolled dough meet, then repeating until it's all rolled up. Creates better surface tension, too.

But I avoid that issue in most cases these days, as my favorite panned loaf is in the "sharing loaf" style, formed by making two or three small boules and setting them side-by-side in the pan.

In any event, that's a fine-looking loaf you have there! Looks very tasty :-)


clazar123's picture


I stopped rolling the dough into a loaf because that is exactly what happened to me.Some people do this and never have the problem. If you look at your crumb, there is a very faint swirling patterns and the texture is slightly different in the different layers.

The holes stopped when I started "pre-shaping" for lack of a better work. When I prepare the dough to go into its first rise, I shape into a boule and get a good tight skin or "gluten cloak".

Form the dough into a ball, and then, holding the ball in two hands, tuck the surface of the ball into the bottom of the ball, which will cause the surface of the ball to stretch and form a gluten cloak on the outside of the ball of dough. Don't stretch the dough so much that you tear the dough.


When my dough has doubled,I tip and scrape it out of the bowl, handle it very gently and use a sharp knife to cut it into loaf-size portions. I tuck the edges of the top of the dough underneath to form a boule and then a batard from there. It's really hard to explain without pictures but the idea is to keep the small,finely distributed bubbles intact and use the surface of the dough almost as a wrapping around it. Proof and bake.

My recommendation is to watch videos here on shaping and keep practicing.For me the key was the idea of shaping the outside over the inside without layering it by rolling.

This is a great video of Julia Child and Chef Danielle Forestier making french bread-it's classic and very instructional.

Crider's picture

BettyR's picture


Jstreed1476 - Yea, me too...the small boules placed around the sides of a cast iron skillet with one in the middle is how bread was baked when I was a kid. Who knew we were having sharing bread? I make my usual loaves that way too but I would really like to be able to make a traditional loaf once in a while without all the holes.

Clazar123 - I'll give that a try...thank you.

Crider - I live in rural Texas and all we can get out here is dial-up...I can't watch YouTube but thanks anyway.

rolls's picture

mark sinclaire videos are also very helpful in this i find :)

flournwater's picture

Don't feel bad, Betty.  If you look closely at many slliced commercial white and wheat bread loaves you'll find a "baker's bedroom" in some of those too.