The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Questions on Shaping bread

HLozada's picture

Questions on Shaping bread

Greetings all!

I am following the instructions for the Tartine Basic Country Bread recipe and have some questions on the initial shaping.  The description is, basically, "use your bench knife and work each piece of dough to a round shape".  I think he means to shape a boule, but I can't make sense of his description and the photo sequence (usually pretty clear on other parts of the process) is not very clear here.  

Is there a chance any of you experienced bakers with this process could share what he means or explain this step a little bit more?  Should I just shape a boule and be done with it? 

Thanks in advance!  Love this site!

JustinB's picture

If you are using a lightly floured bench, then you shouldn't really need a bench knife (dough scraper). If it is a round shape, then do this: hold both hands in front of you, touch the tips of your thumbs to each other and your index fingers. Now essentially do that, cup over the piece of dough and roll in a circular motion applying pressure to seal the bottom.

Hope that is what you are looking for!

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, HLozada.

There are so many methods that work well for shaping boules. Since clarity is what you seek, I suggest you look at the great videos that Ciril Hitz has posted on Here's a link:

Happy baking!


emmsf's picture

I agree - there are so many techniques.  I too found the explanation in the Tartine book to be confusing.  Check out the link mentioned above.  Also, Jeffrey Hamelman has 4 or 5 great videos made for King Arthur Flour which show all stages of professional bread making, including shaping:

Good luck.