The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fendu shaping help

zolablue's picture

Fendu shaping help

I would like some information and help on shaping fendu loaves.  I found only two entries on this site as follows:


Floyd’s beautiful fendu loaf:


JMonkey’s also beautiful rendition of a fendu loaf:


I have made the Hamelman, Roasted Potato Bread, and it is delicious!  I was very disappointed as well to find Hamelman (as with many other things in his book supposedly for the home baker) does not provide good instructions for this and unfortunately both my loaves stuck together.  I would like to know how these were accomplished, if you guys see this, or if anyone else can offer some expertise.


I tried it again with another dough recipe and it also stuck together despite my trying to sprinkle extra flour in the crease before proofing.  I love this shape and it would lend itself well to many other breads so I would like to learn to master it. 

Paddyscake's picture

I've never tried this shaping method but the directions in BBA are generally this : Sprinkle flour over the top, crease it with a dowel, pushing to the bottom of the dough without severing it. Remove the dowel, sprinkle four into the crack. Crease the dough a second time, slightly widening and reinforcing the split, sprinkle the crack with flour again. Gently lift the dough, turn it over and proof it crack side down. When proofed, roll it back over and bake split side up. Hope this helps!

susanfnp's picture

Im not an expert on Fendu but I just wanted to add one thing to the above: when I was shown how to do it, we rolled the dowel so that there was a good 3" or so of flat "hinge" connecting the two halves. I wasn't sure how to describe it; I hope that makes sense.


xma's picture

Hi Zolablue, we meet again.  Ahem, I am no fendu expert either, having only tried it once.  As usual, I cheated and didn't even use any tool other than my hands.  So yes, I just chopped my hand down the middle of the dough (and shout, "hyaa!" karate style, hehe) and tried to make that dent as even as I could.  I think the amount of flour I dusted my hands with was just enough for the fold to open beautifully during baking.  My disclaimer is that the fendu loaf I made was smallish, maybe about 300-400 grams of dough.  I imagine doing it that way would get difficult with a big mass of dough.  One other thing I learned from that experience is that the fendu would look better with oval loaves, folded lengthwise.  I did mine on a boule, and I thought the resulting shape, ovalish with the fold along the short width of it, looked odd.  I didn't use a banetton though, just inverted it on a piece of parchment paper; if I had, maybe it would have retained the round shape?  Good luck.  I'm sure, the next thing we know, you'll be posting some fabulous pics of fendu shaped bread!

And oh yes, totally agree with potato bread.  Have you tried his oatmeal bread? I think it's my favorite whole wheat bread, no pre-ferment but retarded overnight.  It's got a very soft crumb though, but perfect for sandwiches.

zolablue's picture

Paddyscake – Thanks for the reminder to check my BBA book.  His fendu looks so different than Hamelman’s (or Floyd’s & JMonkey’s for that matter) but it is always helpful to read through other instructions.  I did shape exactly like you are describing but I’m thinking my doughs were simply too wet for this shape.  I’m going to have to practice.


Susan – Interestingly, I also made a larger “hinge” the second time I tried this thinking that would be a key but again, must have been the too-wet dough.  Or not enough flour.


Xma – I have not tried Hamelman’s oatmeal bread yet.  I’ve been threatening to make an oatmeal bread so thanks for the heads up on that one.  I gotta say, too, that I really love the fendu shape done to a boule.  I just need to figure out how to make it work.

crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Hello all

This shape does not seen to be real popular.  I have seen it described in books and once by a pro baker.  Most bread shapes have a "purpose" if you will.  Some have more or less crust to crumb, some are made for sandwiches etc.  What is the purpose of the fendu shape?  Is it just an alternative to slashing or are you supposed to end up with two loaves seperated by a thin membrane?  My guess is the latter because it would take up less room in the oven?  I love the way this shape looks and can't wait to try it.  The pro I saw describe it works at Pearl bakery in Portland suggested using a little oil to keep the seperation open.  He also demonstrated a shape called "tabacco pouch" that had a thin membrane flipped over on a boule.  He again used oil where he did not want the "flap" to stick.

Da Crumb Bum 

xma's picture

Crumb bum, the fendu may not be common in the States but I've been to places where it is popular.  Come to think of it, the places I've seen this have Spanish influences, I don't know if others would agree.  Anyway, I think this is why I only tried this shape once, it's because it reminded me of some sweetish, poor quality commercial bread, especially the oval shape I ended up with as I described above.  I cannot claim to know the "purpose" of this shape, but the ones I've seen were on the small side, ranging from maybe 1 to 5 ounces at the most.  I just thought it's a very convenient way of splitting a loaf into two, because it does so in a nice, neat way, without needing a knife... er, don't ask why someone would want to do that.  It's not a way to save oven space, because it IS one loaf that has two parts.

Zolablue, I know you realize it's a balance between dough hydration and the flour for dusting, but I'd caution you that I think it's better to err on not-enough-flour rather than too much of it.  You might end up with unsightly nuggets when the fold blooms, instead of the clean grigne (ahem, a new term I picked up from Glezer's book, heheh) that the scoring, or folding in this case, is supposed to achieve.  I've been trying to think but I honestly can't remember what bread/recipe I tried this shape with. But I do remember the dough had a medium, with a tendency toward stiff, consistency.  I've made Hamelman's oatmeal bread often enough to know that that dough should work for this shape.  Once again, good luck! :)

renoles's picture


     I was watching some of the old Baking with Julia videos on the web yesterday and I found the episode with Steve Sullivan of Acme Bread. He made fendu loaves and watching him made it a little more clear.

I hope this might be of some use to you.

zolablue's picture

Crumb bum – You are correct that this doesn't seem to be very popular which is why I had trouble finding help.  Trying Googling this shape and you won’t find much at least on the instruction side.  It you have Hamelman’s book, look at illustration photo 12.  They are quite lovely and actually are not a lot different in shape than a slashed boule.  Actually, Floyd’s and JMonkey’s are really lovely examples.  And, again, that roasted potato bread is fantastic.  I’m not sure that recipe is posted here on the site but it should be. Oh, and when I checked BBA he shows the pouch shape that he calls Tartière right above the illustration for fendu.


Interestingly, Hamelman states this shape doesn’t really work well for an oblong loaf.  Go figure.  They all have their opinions.


Renoles – Wow, thanks for that video link!  It was super plus I love Acme bread recipes.  They’re absolutely fantastic, in fact, I believe I keep missing them because I am concentrating so much these days on sourdough.  Anyway, it is interesting that he used rice flour which, from what I read, should really help.  I must order some as I can’t seem to find it locally so far.


In that video he turned the loaf (oblong, btw…hehe) under itself.  First, he dusted the surface with quite a bit of rice flour and then he pressed into that with the rolling pin to try and help that surface pick up the flour.  Then he turned the loaf under itself instead of back into itself (if that makes sense) as I did trying to follow Hamelman’s lackluster drawings and vague instruction.  Basically, that would be backwards to what I did.  I realize I have the book, Baking with Julia, so was able to double check this.  I wonder if that makes a difference or not.  There are several things to try here.