The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How do I transfer my loaves to bake?

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hug5901's picture

How do I transfer my loaves to bake?


I made ciabatta loaves and the result was OK but I had the problem to transfer the loaves to the oven. I do not have any special tools. I have baking sheets. I shaped the loaves like a rugby ball and let them rise again on the folded tea towel lined with the parchment and sprinkle with flour and semolina. I baked the loaves with the parchment for about 10 minutes and peeled of the parchment but there are some bits of the parchment did not come out of my loaves. Is there any other way to transfer the loaves from the fold tea towel to be baked without the parchment? Please someone help me, I will appreciate. Thanks.

ClimbHi's picture

I'm pretty new at this, so take this advice with a grain of salt, er flour . . .

Presently lacking a couche, I do my final rise on a floured wooden cutting board or the wooden kitchen counter (depending on the ambient temp in the kitchen). I transfer it to my floured peel for loading into the oven (you would transfer it to your baking sheet) by releasing it from the surface with a bit of gentle rocking or, if necessary, with the help of a pastry scraper. I slash it only after it is on the peel. I do not use parchment -- I figure it'll burn on my hearth (wood-fired oven). No problems with this method yet.

FWIW, I have gotten around the lack of a couche to help keep the dough from spreading by placing floured wooden sticks (approx. 1"X2"X18") between the loaves while they are rising. I cover the whole mess with plastic wrap, and place a weight against the two outer sticks to hold everything in place during the rise. This has worked fine as well.


swtgran's picture

Let the loaves rise on the parchment on the back of a cookie sheet, if it has sides.  If you are wanting to preheat a cookie sheet to bake the bread on, the transfer will be easiest if it, too, is upside down.  Slide the parchment with the dough from the one cookie sheet to the hot one or to a baking stone.  Just leave the parchment under your loaves until they are done.  Voila, no parchment sticking.  They will get brown but not catch fire.

I have the best luck just letting the dough rise on a silpat on my cookie sheet.  I then preheat the oven and just bake it on the silpat lined cookie sheet I let the dough rise on.  I get a very nicely done crust all around.  Very easy and no transfer neccessary.  Terry

KosherBaker's picture

Hello hug.

I think that you don't need both the parchment paper and the tea towel. You should be able to get away with either one or the either, as they both server the same purpose. If you do stick with the parchment paper method, I'd like to let you know that 10 minutes is not enough time to form a crust and therefore is too early to remove the parchment paper, which is why it stuck to your loaves.

Here is what I have been doing. I went shopping for kitchen towels made of linnen. But was unable to find anything in the appropriate price range ($20 per towel at Williams Sonoma). As I was looking I found cotton towels that felt just like linnen, or at least were pretty close. :) So I purchased a three pack. For something like $5 - $7. It was 8 years ago so I don't remember exactly. I brought them home and washed them by hand. I used an organic detergent that was food safe. But you don't have to be that maniacal. :) This was the last washing these towels will see. I then took each towel and rubbed flour into it. Many people on this board recommend rice flour, which I find works extremely well. However, if you don't have rice flour yet no worries use regular All Purpose flour for now. Once the towels are saturated with flour, all you need to do is lightly dust them with flour before every use. And after their use make sure that they are nice and dry. Fold them into a bag and store them in a dry place somewhere. Don't wash them again though.

While I'm offering tips I might as well toss another one your way. I got tired of wasting plastic wrap for the top of my proofing dough. So one day after I finished kneeding my dough and placed them in the towels to rise I had a little bit of flour left over on the board. So I tore off a sheet of plastic wrap and rubbed it all over that flour so that one side of it was completely coated and then used that for the top of my baguettes. I now fold that over as well and store it with my towels. :) Every now and then I rub them over some flour just to keep them stick free.

Hope this helps.


holds99's picture

My wife really likes ciabatta.  So, I make it a couple of times a month (Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe - Bread Bible).  For transferring ciabatta loaves from the work surface to parchment lined pans I made a bread board using a legal size clipboard.  I removed the clip hardware (drilled out the 2 rivits holding the clip) from the clipboard. My wife bought me a new pair of nylon panty hose which I used to cover the clipboard (pulled tightly over the board) then tied and taped the nylon to the back side of the board with packing tape).  This leaves one side of the board with a tight, smooth surface of nylon.  

The board is easy to hold and manuever and ciabatta dough can be rolled onto or carefully slid from the work surface onto the nylon covered board and will not stick to the nylon.  I then transfer each loaf to a parchment lined pan.  You want to end up with the heavily floured  (work surface down side of the loaf)  up to avoid flour getting incorporated in seams or lumps under the loaf during final proofing and subsequent baking.  The loaf will roll or can be carefully slid off the nylon covered board for final proofing without it sticking.  I proof the loaves under a large, clear, rectangular plastic tub (about 8-10 inches deep) which I purchased at Walmart.  After use I let the bread board dry completely at room temp, dust off any remaining flour and store it in a plastic bag for next use.  I also use the bread board for transferring baguettes/batards from my couche to parchment lined pans.  I've gotten away from placing the loaves directly on the stone at the beginning of the baking cycle in order to minmize scorching the bottoms.  They can be slid out of the pans and onto the stone midway through the baking process if that's desirable.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL