The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Moving risen batards to parchment paper--HelP!!

caryn's picture

Moving risen batards to parchment paper--HelP!!

Since this is only the second time that I have added something to this site, I may not be adding this note to the right place.  If not, hopefully I will find a better place next time.  First I love this website.  I am an artisan bread hobbiest, have been playing around with sourdoughs for quite a while, and find the information here both interesting and helpful.

This afternoon I was busy following all the instructions for making Maggie Glezer's Columbia loaves.  Almost every step went well- My starter was very active and the final dough rose nicely.  But then I needed to transfer my two batards rising on the linen couche to the parchment paper in order to put it in the oven for baking.  In doing so, I compromised the shape of the loaves, and also deflated them somewhat too. (It is possible that I did let the bread rise a bit too long, since it was rather airy.)  So what is the best way to transfer risen loaves from a cloche?  Or is there a better way to accomplish the same thing?  I do own a perferated bagette pan, that perhaps I could let the finished dough rise in next time.  Can anyone help with this? I would appreciate any suggestions.  Thank you. 

breadnerd's picture

There are a few ways to transfer loaves. Usually even some jostling will be tolerated by proofed loaves--Even if they deflate a little they seem to "remember" their shape and will bounce back.


I use a couple of methods. One: I rise the loaves upside down (seam-side up) either in a linene lined basket or bowl. Then I can gently invert the bowl or basket over the parchment paper, score the loaves, and slide them in the oven.


Another way, which works pretty well with couches, is to gently roll the proofed loaf onto a narrow board or other appropriately sized non-bendy object. (Sometimes I even just roll them onto my arm!) Then you transport them to the nearby parchmen-lined peel, and then gently roll them onto it, right side up. With Couches you can sort of use the excess folds of fabric to roll the loaf.


If it's a firmer loaf, sometimes I just pick it up with my hands and move it. Ciabattas, even though they are quite soft, use this method. Though being rustic loaves, they don't much care if they are smooshed a little bit.


When I used perforated pans at a bakery, we did just rise them in the pan, and bake. We sprayed with a bit of pan release, but never had trouble with them sticking, especially once they were seasoned with a bit of use. This was nice for full-sized baguettes, which are unwieldy to move around at full proof.



tubaguy63's picture

You have some good advice above.  Remember a few things:

 Be sure that your batard is shaped tight enough so that it isn't very tackey.  Try to prevent sticking after shaping by using enough flour. 

 The way I was tought to deliver a batard to the oven is the following:

 Shape and place the batard seam-side up on your couche.  When ready to bake, lift one portion of your couche up to roll the batard so that the seam is down, then roll the batard onto something like the flipping board shown here ( so that the seam is up.  Finally, roll the batard onto your peel, parchment, etc, seam side up and score as you desire.


Good luck!

demegrad's picture

I use this floured 18 inch piece of wood I got a home depot.  Works great and depending on the type of wood you choose, it'll cost between 1 to 4 bucks.  It's perfect for gently getting long loaves off the clouche and moving to the oven.  Also the clouche is just some canvas I sewed up like a pillow case with no stuffing.  I bought the canvas at walmart so it to was 4 bucks and I've used it many many times.


caryn's picture

Thank you, demegrad for responding so quickly.  I do appreciate ways to do these bread functions more cheaply!!  So what size board would you recommend?  Will Home Depot cut a board to a given size?  I am very much into bread making, but rather inept when it comes to doing any normal home improvement or repair thing!!!  I have to ask a million questions whenever I enter such a store. :)

demegrad's picture

Yes home depot will cut them to size for you.  The following is a response to a very similar subject I gave a while ago.  It talks about what to ask for when you go to home depot:

A very useful tool is a peel, and even though they aren't to expensive if you want to work with longer loaves the peel to need is excessive large and therefore more expensive than the smaller ones.  But a small one is perfect for pizza.  So I suggest buying a small pizza peel, and then for work with longer loaves, buy a piece of wood at home depot or lowes, about .75 inches thick, 7.5 inches wide and about 18 inches long is pretty good.  I went expensive and got a nice piece of oak at $2.35 a foot, but hey you only need a foot and half.  They should also have poplar and pine which are even cheaper, but just as good for baking, I just think the oak looks nice.  Just go in and ask for "a foot and half of one by eight inch ..." of whatever type of wood you want, and they'll even cut it to length for you.  So no tools are needed on your part, since I know not everyone has a table saw at home.  There is special instruction for caring for wood that will probably need to be washed, just look up instruction on caring for wooden cutting boards, it's the same idea.  But in general just flour up your board like you would a peel and it's perfect for transferring long loaves to your oven!  And if you're having trouble with loaves sticking to inexpensive towels being used for a couche I made one, to size, from canvas, the canvas is thick and very tightly woven.  I don't know for sure if those aspects of canvas actually increase it's non-stickiness, yes I said non-stickiness, but I always just use some flour and never have had a problem.

 I got the canvas at wal-mart's sewing section, it's sells in a 3 foot wide roll for aobut $4 a foot.  Again a foot and a half is good but you can get the size to whatever you want.  The tricky part is finding someone with a sewing machine to fold the edges and sew them up.  Luckily it's an easy/small job and any friends with a sewing machine probably won't mind doing it for you.


caryn's picture

Thank you, demegrad, for so much useful detail!!  I will plan to go to Home Depot to get a board such as you have described. I do already have a cloche that I bought from the KA Flour Baking catalogue- I'm sure I paid much more than I had to :)!!

caryn's picture

I am impressed with how quickly all of you responded. Thank you all!!  I will try a number of your suggestions.  I think one of my problems was that I did not flour the couche enough, so the the batards were sticking somewhat when I tried to move them. I do like the idea of using a board to help in the transfer.  I think what makes it difficult when using a cloche is when you are making more than one loaf.  When I make just one big loaf, it is easier to just dump the loaf onto the parchment paper or peel directly.  Also I belive the recipe for the Columbia bread instructed to rise the batards seam side down.

My bread turned out favorful and chewy anyway, but I would have liked the crust to be thicker and crustier.  I did use a pan of hot water under my bread, and sprayed my loaves before putting them in the oven.  From your experiences, do any of you get a crustier result with this recipe- (Maggie Glezer's Columbia bread)?

mountaindog's picture

Hi Caryn - my Columbias seem to be very crusty just from using a baking stone and misting first 3 minutes, but another variable may be how long you bake them for and how brown you let them get. My husband really likes all of his bread "bien cuite" (or well-cooked in French), he likes me to practically burn the crust, which also seems to make it thicker and crisper. Try leaving it in the oven as long as you can without burning the bottoms. 


As far as the couche/batard transfer, I just gently roll the batard out of the couche onto a semolina-dusted peel over to one side, and roll the second one right along side the first. The excess folds in the canvas cloth allow me to maneuver the batard where I need it, and you do need to flour it well. Then I use the peel to slide them onto my semolina-dusted baking stone with a flick of the wrist (semolina thrown onto stone right before placing loaves in oven). Proofing seam-side up or down may not matter much if they are well-shaped and have good surface tension, whatever works better for you to get them onto your peel or baking sheet and ready for scoring is fine.

caryn's picture

Thank you, mountaindog, for your usual thoughtful comments.  I will try to use some of your tricks next time, since you have been so successful.  I did notice that when I toasted cut pieces of my bread, the crust was nice and crusty.  I also noticed on another discussion that leaving the bread in the oven with the oven turned off at the end can help the texture of the crust as well.

sewwhatsports's picture

I use linen lined rising baskets.  I rise in them and then when ready to slash and bake put them on semolina dusted parchment paper.  I slide this onto my hot baking stone and bake for 10-15 minutes.  When I rotate the loaves I take them off the paper and get really nice bottom crusts that are not too thick or hard but nice and chewy.  

I have thought about getting the baking linens but my method is working at the moment.  I actually am using a new burp cloth tyep fabric, cut in half and dusted with flour in my baskets.  Cheap and easy to use/wash... 

Rena in Delaware

anthonycarriero's picture

I have found that dusting the baking stone or baking sheet with cornmeal or semolina always resulted in burning the cornmeal or semolina while baking the bread.

The burnt smell from the oven is not pleasant. Next time I'll opt for parchment paper. I must remember to cut the parchment paper so that it does not extend beyond the edges of the baking stone (this is to avoid burning the parchment paper).

Baking bread is one of the most satisfying activities. Many thanks to the members of this great group for all the creative ideas and help.