The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

When gifting bread, which loaf shape do you usually choose?

neoncoyote's picture

When gifting bread, which loaf shape do you usually choose?

I've gifted a number of baguettes to friends and family of late. I usually shape baguettes by default, since my family's ratio preference leans heavily towards the crust. We consume the bread as an accompaniment to dinner or as morning toast -- we rarely have sandwiches. Makes me wonder if the giftees would find boules more useful, to use in sandwiches. I should mention these are not particularly large loaves.

I'm fairly certain people are happy to get bread in any form, but I'm curious about what shape you usually gift, and your reason(s) for preferring that shape.

Thank you, and happy baking :)

DerekL's picture

Normal loafs for non food savvy friends, boules for food savvy friends.

MichaelH's picture

When “gifting”, it is essential to consider the ethnic and cultural origins of the “giftee”, so as not to offend or to otherwise commit a faux pas. One obvious solution is to ask the “giftee" for their preference, preferably in writing (notarized), so there can be no confusion. Nothing in today’s enlightened correct society is so traumatizing as to "gift" an inappropriate "gift' to a “giftee” (the shame)! The "giftee's" ratio preference of crust to crumb is but one of many potholes into which one can inadvertently fall.

Personally, “gifting” has become such a minefield of proper etiquette and a source of such potential embarrassment that I rarely “gift” anymore.

Of course there are a few Neanderthals still around who gladly accept an unsolicited gift of any kind, but such coarseness is rare.



neoncoyote's picture

Michael, your reply brings to mind my sister-in-law's ire at being gifted with a Sonicare toothbrush by her mother. Everyone in the family had one and loved it; my SIL was the only holdout, but only because she hadn't thought to purchase one. After she and her husband unwrapped it, they told my mother-in-law that they were offended and that it was a horrible gift. They actually said this. Seems a notarized list of permitted gifts would have come in handy here.

Not to interrupt the flow of ideas here, but thanks to all who have responded so far :) .

jstreed1476's picture

Batards are easier for people without big, decent-quality bread knives to cut. For some reason, though, people usually think boules look more impressive, in my experience.

The one time I gave a "crown," someone said it looked like the world's largest bagel.

Braids seem to be a hit, too.

Here are some creative ideas :-)



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I like to find nice but reasonable bread baskets and make the loaf fit the basket. 

Do wrap the loaf in paper and/or plastic.   To fancy it up a bit, the loaf can be wraped in a new clean ironed dishcloth or a basket lined with a cloth or napkin.   Makes it easy to just cut and serve. 

A basket with a sturdy handle is fun to pass also unusual shapes like long narrow baskets or special themes add fun to table get togethers.   A Bread basket can easily become a table centerpiece with the bread returning to the middle of the table so it is fun to decorate it a little, keeping it simple.

I like to give away a whole medium sized loaf so that it gets eaten in a reasonable amount of time.  That would be about one kilo.  It can be sliced for a toaster or made into sandwiches or thick sliced.  I leave the slicing up to the other person unless they instruct me how to slice it.


SylviaH's picture

the one that turned out looking the best looking ; )


davidg618's picture

Your post brought a chuckle:-)

Fortunately, I seem to live in a community of Neanderthals. They take what I give them, thank me, and run off to devour. Two households remind me when its been more than a week or ten days since their last gift. I've offered to do informal classes, but no takers yet. However, everyone has learned how to "freshen up" a thawed loaf in a hot oven for a few minutes.

I've become the village baker ;-)

David G

chykcha's picture

I usually end up with a batard for some reason. Those are fun to shape!

UnConundrum's picture

I usually let the bread decide...  whatever seems appropriate.  Too bad if they don't like the shape... BTW, I've never received a complaint.

dmsnyder's picture

I generally give at least 3 breads, each in a different shape. For example, I'm baking this weekend for a visit to one of my sons. I'll be taking one San Joaquin Sourdough bâtard, one San Francisco Sourdough boule and one Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut pan loaf.

At least with my giftees, these get eaten faster than more exotic breads (by California standards). Even when they have requested other breads, for example challah or sour rye, it's the SJ SD and SF SD that get gobbled up the fastest and get the most compliments. 

For recipients whose tastes in bread are less well known, I like the idea of submitting an order sheet in advance.