Bread can take just about any shape the baker desires, from classic baguettes to modern sandwich loaves. It’s hard to learn how to shape loaves from written descriptions, however, pictures can give a good guidance to the adventurous bread maker.
Before one shapes the dough, one needs to pre-shape it first. There are two basic pre-shapes. The first, a basic oval or rectangle: roll the dough into a rectangle. Beginning with the shorter side, roll dough towards self. Seal long seam as well as ends with hands. Fold sealed ends under. The second, a round: form the dough into an oval, stretching and turning ends of the dough under and pinching into a seam. Place in prepared pan seam side down.
Scoring is generally completed directly prior to placing the loaves in the hot oven. Some loaves are not scored, however, all hand-made artisan breads are. Intentionally creating this weaker point on the surface prevents the loaf from bursting at weak point created during shaping. The type of scoring performed determines the direction in which the bread will expand during “oven spring” and the depth of the cuts influences the rate of expansion. The pattern of cuts can create a pleasing visual effect on the ready the loaf.
Round bread shapes: cob, cottage, boule, wreath
Elongated bread shapes: ficelle, grissini, baguette, epi, Vienna
Sandwich bread shapes: Pullman, moulded tin, moulded twin, split tin
Classic bread shapes: bloomer, baton, batards, challah, plait, fougasse
Bread roll shapes: Kaiser roll, bun, bap, dinner roll, classic spiral, pistolet, croissant, pretzel