The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Boule formation video??

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flourgirl51's picture

Boule formation video??

I have been making rye boules but I need to work on forming the loaves. Is there a good video out there on boule formation? My rounds look good when placed in the bannetons but when they rise the bottoms seem to come apart which makes for mishappened  loaves when baked.

jcking's picture

Click on "Videos" near the top of the home page. Pick the third one down for J Hamelman, tons of good info, shaping and more. If the bottom of the dough doesn't seal there's too much flour on the board or dough, use a spray bottle to moisten what will be the bottom of the boule.


LindyD's picture

In addition to Jeffrey Hamelman, Ciril Hitz has some excellent videos and David Snyder did a nice blog with helpful photos:

breadforfun's picture

This site has some nice shaping videos as well: .


flourgirl51's picture

Thank you!

GSnyde's picture


Those are all good videos and blogs about boule shaping.  But someone should tell you that rye breads often have blow outs, even if properly shaped and scored.  Just the nature of the beast.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If you are shaping with rye flour on the work surface, be aware it can act very "non-stick" and keep the dough from sticking to itself.

Are you using a large amount of sprouted flour?

flourgirl51's picture

Mini- I am not using any sprouted flour in this. I am using my stone ground rye flour. Some days are better than others and I have made some really nice round loaves but for the most part the bottoms come apart. You really can't tell after they are baked but some are more oval instead of round even though I raise them in bannetons. I wonder if I am not letting them raise long enough during the second rise. I don't use any flour when I shape them as I shape them on a slightly oiled butcher block counter.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

you could also let them rest on their seams for 10 minutes before turning them seam side up in the bannetons.   Another possibility is not to fight it and just put them seam side down in the banneton and let them split on the top while baking.  

If they're splitting open, it means they want to expand and have no where to go except to reopen the seam, the weakest spot.  Surface tension might be too tight.  As you suggest letting them rise longer would loosen the tension (unless the bannetons are somehow sucking out too much moisture.)  

I'll just brainstorm here for a moment...  How do you cover the dough sitting in the banneton?   Try a different cover or none at all.  Scoring?  Docking?  What kind of browning is seen on the bottoms?   Could the top of the oven be too warm?  Are you using a glaze?  This is one way to soften the surface for a smooth expanding loaf.   (Keep the glaze on the thin side and use a big soft brush  5" wide at least 1" thick wallpaper brush.)  

Another trick might be to try the fendu method of shaping --  after the loaf is on the peel, press a rolling pin (broom stick) into the middle.  In the oven it rises back up and all the loaves are somewhat oval but it's a beautiful effect.