The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Shaping Loaves

davidg618's picture

Shaping Loaves

I've been trying to teach my hands to shape loaves. It's going slowly. There remains a lot more learning.

These two loaves came from the same dough, and were proofed and baked side-by-side. Nonetheless, they've taken on different profiles. The only difference between the two is how taut I drew the loave's surface tension when I shaped them. The good news: I knew when I'd shaped them both that one was tauter then the other. I considered removing the slack one,  on the right, from it's brotform, and tightening its surface. I chose not to.

I read somewhere, students of the baker's school in Paris are required to come early, each day, and shape fifty baguettes before attending classes. Students attend the school for three years: six days each week. That's roughly 50,000 baguettes. I'm beginning to appreciated why.

And when my shaping skills become barely adequate, there is still scoring to learn.

David G


LindyD's picture

Since you mentioned brotforms, I presume you're shaping boules.

Did you miss David Snyder's tutorial on boule shaping?  It's quite excellent.

Of course, there's always the fabulous videos by Ciril Hitz

LeeYong's picture

I just clicked on Ciril Hitz UTube... it's fabulous! He makes everything so easy - guess the more you do the better you become or at least you start to be more comfortable doing it....



dmsnyder's picture

What a nice example of how the more you learn, the more you realize how much more there is to learn.

The way, I figure it, I've still got about 53, 722 more baguettes to shape before I can do them well consistently. I'm looking forward to it!


Jo_Jo_'s picture

Lol, I was thinking the boule's looked pretty good!  Wondered what the crumb looked like.  I am just happy that my baguette's look a LOT better than the groecery store bought ones do!  I dream of someday having mine consistently look like some of the ones I have seen on this website though....  So much to learn! 


davidg618's picture

...of the slacker loaf.

This is 40% whole wheat sourdough, at 70% hydration, but with 60% KA Bread Flour making up the balance the dough acted more like 65% hydration. 29% if the flour is prefermented in the levain build. The flavor is extraordinary!

The loaves were were proofed in oblong brotforms, but look like boules in the side-by-side end shot above.

GSnyde's picture

A loaf can only learn when it's well taut.


davidg618's picture

TFL is blessed to have the Snyder boys.

David G

longhorn's picture

Hi David!

Thanks for the great illustration and reminder. The crumb on the slack loaf still looks great but... the profile on the taut loaf is truly lovely!