The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

a loaf shaping technique question

kendalman's picture

a loaf shaping technique question

The technique works for small loaves, 1.5 lb down and to at least 90% hydration, it removes the need for a banneton.

I use white, seeded, grain and wholemeal flours.  My loaves take about two and a quarter hours to make after either an overnight rise or a 20 minute premix.  I use a bread machine and a cloche.  I make around one loaf a day. I aim for a silky open crumb.

 Here is the technique:

The window pane standard dough ball is divided into two parts.  One part is left to rise whilst the other is divided into equal length strands.  These strands are worked until they are strong enough to make a band that holds the other part  in shape.  You get either a log or a boule shape for the loaf.  A simple basic 300g flour  (1 lb) loaf gives a log around 10 inches long and around 4 inches high or a boule with around an 8 inch base and 4 inches height.  The natural shape is the log.  You do not have to use the same flour for each part.  So you can get patterns of  different doughs in a loaf,  as shown in the image.

I don’t know the name of the technique please can anyone help?  I could do a video of the technique and write a detailed description but if they already exist there is no point.

A bit of background.....    I have belonged to the forum for several years and simply read the bits of interest to me.  Its been very useful.  Perhaps I can make a useful contribution now.  The dough is easy to handle. I only wanted to get a  flour free crust..


the video showing the kendal roll technique and how to use the rolls to form a loaf is at


Kendal roll clip questions and answers

Why don’t you make loaves using just kendal rolls?
The crumb is not first rate.  There are likely to be small dark patches.  They feel wet and rubbery when you run your finger over them.  It seems  insufficient baking heat gets to these patches.  I have tried to get rid of them and  failed.  I think it is to do with the  gas pressure in the cells.  It could be just a bit  higher than  usual which may reduce the effectiveness of the water vapour transferring heat across the cells?......

Why do you use first oil then flour on the work surface and your hands?
When the dough is first removed from the pan of the bread machine it is very sticky, rubbing oil over my hands and the work surface  means that very little sticks to my skin or the work surface when the dough rests on it.  I make a point of rolling the dough over the work surface so all of it is covered in a thin film of  oil.  The first shapings are rough and ready and its easy to do them with oil covered dough.  I need to grip the dough for the kendal rolling, and flour, used after the oil, works well.  I use rice bran oil.

How much hand mixing/kneading do you do? 
None.  I use my bread machine on its dough setting.  There are two operations in the dough pan.  A one minute initial mix of all the flour and water followed by a twenty minute pause, then  a full mix of everything to window pane standard.  That can take anything from fifteen minutes to half an hour.  I do wash my hands of dough after I remove it from the pan, some does get stuck doing this job.  After that everything is fine.

How can you tell when the dough in the pan is at window pane standard?
By poking it with a finger after the dough has balled on the paddle.  At first the dough feels soft and very sticky.  Then as the dough ball begins to bang its way round the pan it feels much firmer and less sticky.  That wholemeal dough took 13 minutes.   Flours with  protein content of around nine can take much longer especially at high hydration.

When can’t you use the kendal roll technique
When the dough in the bread maker’s pan does not ball properly. 
A thin skin of dough covers the base of the pan and a sloppy ball rotates above it.  (If you use a mixer you may be able to persuade the dough to ball properly by operating it at speed)

Why is the kendal roll so strong?
Each of the around 8 operations per roll stretches a small  sheet of dough  in two directions at right angles and pins it.  Bonds have been stretched and can’t get back to their original state. So you need to apply a bigger than usual force to bend the dough, the dough feels ‘strong’.  Warning!  Yes you can kendal roll a kendal roll but why?  The extra strength is not needed.  If you do the kendal rolling a third time the  dough snaps/breaks in your hands as you try to stretch the roll apart. 

My band doesn’t go all the way round the loaf
You can always bake it bottom up, you can get an attractive effect on the crust.  It doesn’t usually matter.

Why do you split the dough 50/50?
Its a good place to start, you can adjust the ratios ....the less dough in the band the weaker the band

Why do you use three kendal rolls for the band?
As a rough guide you need a band for each 100g of flour to get sufficient band surface.

What is the maximum rise time for the dough to keep enough strength
I don’t know.   I make my loaves early morning to fit in with breakfast.  My rise time is around  one and quarter hours.  I do ‘overnight’ rather than 20 minutes sometimes, that is no problem.  I put around 0.5g of yeast with the flour and water.

How can I check how well the kendal rolls band has covered the loaf’s surface?
Use a different colour dough for the surface so when you cut into the bread you can see where the doughs have gone.  It makes pretty bread.  See the image at the top of the page.  The band did not make it all the way round.

Can I make a boule shaped loaf?
Yes, when you  put your loaf together use the palm of one hand to stop any dough straying beyond the end of the band.  When you have finished fitting the band turn the whole log of dough through 90 degrees  and stand the log on its end patting it down gently to get a bigger base.  Warning this structure is a bit wobbly I  shove a wooden spoon  under the edge of the rigid plastic sheet beneath the parchment paper to correct a sloping boule whilst it finishes rising.

I wait with interest to here how you get on. 


SeasideJess's picture

Your technique sounds fascinating and certainly not anything I've ever heard of before. I'd love to see a full write-up with pictures or a video.

kendalman's picture

Thanks Jess, it looks like the technique is new.  One of my son's said "Father they have been making bread for thousands of years...and you have something new!".  The other' s comment was "some of my friends make bread and they don't use a banneton".  I will make a video.  I promise you it will give a whole new view on making a loaf.  Just give me a few days.  You will need a silicon mat but that's all for extras.

DanAyo's picture

Agree, would like to see comprehensive documentation. Images would be nice. I don’t understand the process.


kendalman's picture

I have written the documentation, and will upload it when I upload the video.  I am a retired physics teacher, I wanted to make loaves with crusts free from loose flour.  I wondered if it was possible to make dough stronger than that produced by the usual folding techniques.  To my surprise it is possible.  The dough treated this way has enough strength to support a lot more than itself.  So the resultant loaf is held in shape by a band of this extra strong dough.  It's the white dough in the image, it acts as a dough corset. So whereas the usual loaf shape holding forces act throughout the dough as a consequence of the foldings, in my loaves the holding forces are in the band of dough.  The centre part of the dough the mixed seed part has not been strengthened.  Perhaps a relative's comment is useful after she had watched me put a loaf together. "I would never have believed what you have just done would end up as a loaf". 

SeasideJess's picture

I look forward to seeing and reading about your technique! I think we're only at the beginning of a home-baking renaissance, and that lots of new techniques will be discovered and/or shared in the next 10 or 20 years. We're already seeing the beginning of it with the dissemination of new or previously regional methods like the no-knead loaf, the tang tzhong method, different ways of generating steam, the Russian CLAS, yeast waters, etc. These are exciting times for baking discoveries.

gary.turner's picture

I recall a documentary about Pompey few years ago. Among the interesting finds was an excavated bakery. There were loaves found that had been inadvertently baked by Vesuvius's temper tantrum. The loaves were wrapped in string. The supposition was that the string held the loaf's shape as it rose.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I seem to recall a few examples... be right back... 

DanAyo's picture

Great writeup, Alex! 

Thanks for taking the time to produce a VIDEO, and then document and writeup the process. I will definitely have to give this a try. Your concept has inspired many ideas.

I for one, am so appreciative for the Internet. When I was a boy our source of knowledge was either word of mouth, the library, or the family set of Encyclopedia Brittanica. It would have been unthinkable back then to imagine a box, much like a TV, that would allow me to travel the world over! We’ve come a long way in such a short time.

Hey! Most of the people today can’t comprehend life without air conditioning and television. What will tomorrow bring?


justkeepswimming's picture

New baker here, slowly learning how things work and what works for me at home. Saw your other post from today and went looking for this one. The video is really helpful! I will give this a try in the next week or so, looking forward to the experiment!

Merry Christmas!?

clazar123's picture

Your bands remind me of flying buttresses to hold up buildings. Interesting technique. It makes my physics brain think. Does the inner crumb raise the loaf during baking and then the "braces" on the outside of the loaf bake-harden and support them in place without collapsing? 

It really makes you think about how bread actually rises -before and during baking. From the inside out? Seems to me it is a race to get the inside risen to a good crumb before the outside hardens into place by the heat. 

This will keep my brain going today-Thank you!