The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

more shaping practice

mcs's picture

more shaping practice

Hey TFLers,
This is a short no-frills video re-visiting some of the parts of shaping that I feel are important.  In the beginning I demonstrate slowly using a damp dishcloth, then I use the same technique with a few different doughs.  Lastly, I use a slight modification on the technique to form a couple of boules.  Enjoy. 





LeeYong's picture

I loved that! Thank you so much for sharing! I think the more I work on my techniques the better I'll get at it!

Happy baking!


wally's picture

I especially like the use of the cloth/towel.  Great way of demonstrating how to achieve surface tension.


LindyD's picture

Your dough looks wonderful, too.

How many loaves do you shape an hour?

tssaweber's picture

Believe me he is very fast, LindyD, and it looks so easy when he shapes dough.........



mcs's picture

LeeYong- Yes, lots and lots of practice makes perfect!
Larry- Thanks for the compliments and hope all is well with you.
LindyD- Correct, the dough was nice to work with.  I'm not sure how many loaves I can shape an hour.  I just keep shaping 'til the dough bins are empty or until a timer tells me to do something else.
Thomas-Yes, I've been known to kick it into high gear when I need to.  I seem to recall you were becoming quite fast with the one-in-each-hand palmier shaping.

dmsnyder's picture

i really like how you have used the narrative to direct our attention to the purpose of your "moves."


breadsong's picture

Hello Mark, Thank you so much for posting this! I am looking forward to practising this shaping technique. 
From breadsong

mcs's picture

Glad you both enjoy the video.  I think the narrative takes me longer than making all of the bread in the video.


breadsong's picture

Mark, I tried out your batard shaping technique yesterday. Your instruction is so helpful. Thank you for the time you took to produce your video!!! from breadsong

occidental's picture

Haven't seen much from the Back Home Bakery lately but always look forward to your videos.  Very instructive!  I'll be looking back at this one several times.  As a side note I was in Whitefish last winter and really enjoyed your breads found at the local market!

mcs's picture

The first couple years of the bakery were a bit busy, so my presense on TFL dropped off a little.  Anyway, glad you like the video and I'm happy you got to try some of the bread in Whitefish. 


Mebake's picture

Thank you Mark! Your videos are always welcomed.


mcs's picture

Glad to see you are continuing to keep things running here at TFL!


Jo_Jo_'s picture

What an awesome video.  Watching how you treat the dough helps so much!  I watched the air bubbles being taken into the center and not burst, but gently and firmly told to behave.  Just amazing, going to keep practicing....


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Thank you for the video. It's obvious to me that you do more in shaping your dough by doing much less than I do. Just like getting to Carnegie Hall, I've got to practice, practice, practice.

proth5's picture

there's a blast from my past.  But have you changed your boule shaping?  I seem to recall your having me do it differently (and I've stuck with it because it was a great technique) or is my mind playing tricks on me? (My being so old that my memory fades...)

mcs's picture

...I can't go revealing all of my secrets, now can I?

saltandserenity's picture

It is so helpful to watch shaping on a video.  I really appreciate the time you  took to produce that piece.  An odd question, what is the name of the font used for your logo of your bakery?  (I am a bit obsessed with fonts)


mcs's picture

Joanne-  my wife thought the 'bubbles being told to behave' comment of yours was quite funny

Postal Grunt- as I'm not a very fast learner, you need to imagine that it took me many, many loaves and practice, practice, practice (x10) to even see Carnegie Hall

saltandserenity- the two fonts I use for the bakery logo and videos are Arendahl by insigne and Caslon Antique originally by Barnhart Brothers and Spindler

ackkkright's picture

This is the most helpful bread-shaping lesson I have had. Until this, my method has been awkward, semi-recreating book diagrams.


Yours shows how I want to intuitively handle the dough. I just shaped 2 loaves very comfortably. Thank you.



mcs's picture


M2's picture

Thanks for sharing the tip about preventing the dough from sticking to the board while shaping.  I notice that there is no flour on the board surface, and yet you skillfully manage to shape the dough without having it sticked to the board/or fingers.

My high hydration dough starts to stick when I do the last step of the shaping, i.e. push the dough against the board to seal the seam.


Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I too have trouble sometimes with high hydration doughs sticking.  I don't like to add too much extra flour during the shaping process, but wetting my hands doesn't seem to solve the problem much, either.  Just looking at the kind of dough you produce and how nicely it responds to your hands tells me it's a very well-nurtured dough.  I think that many times the problem with shaping comes down to the integrity of the dough.  

mcs's picture

Yes, and the integrity of the dough can be developed during many stages other than the initial mix.  Simply adding more tension during the shaping can make the difference between a dough that sticks to the table (and/or your hands) and one that does not.

bigcrusty's picture


Thanks, it's amazing how things work better when kept simple.  This really pulled it together for me.



mcs's picture

Glad to hear that the video helped put the pieces together.