How To Shape and Decorate Bread Before Baking

The attractive shapes and styles of a wide array of breads, from large loaves, small buns, and everything in between, is part of the craftsmanship in making bread.Most bread shapes can be made with a range of doughs.

Step 1: The bread dough needs to be prepared.

If you want to make dough from scratch, follow this basic method: mix the sugar, water, and yeast together and allow to sit for 5 minutes.Fresh water and sugar should be added if the yeast isn’t old.Once the yeast is active, mix with the flour and salt and knead heavily for 5–10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.You should be able to prove at least one hour in a warm place.Once doubled or tripled in size, deflate the dough, punching or flattening it, and then kneading again for a few more minutes to distribute the yeast.Follow the same method if you use a mixing machine.A food processor works well, but ideally mix the dough by hand and then process in batches so as not to overload the processor.Add more flour if the dough is too wet.Depending on the time of year and variety of flour.

Step 2: The following methods are used to bake bread.

Line your oven tray with unglazed terracotta tiles and preheat the oven to 220C / 435F before baking.Keep an eye on the bread as it bakes.If you want a nice brown crust, turn it down.

Step 3: The dough can be divided into two halves.

You can press the dough with the palm of your hand.Press to seal when folding this dough in half.To make a long loaf, fold in half.If the seam seems open, pinch it shut.

Step 4: The dough needs to be rolled out.

Roll the dough out using your palms.The bread should be thinner at the ends and fatter in the middle.If the seams are not sealed, pinch them shut again.If your oven allows its size, the loaf should be about 40-50 cm long.Roll out a loaf bigger than you can bake.

Step 5: Make sure the dough is doubled in size.

Either use a cotton tea towel or a baguette mould.If using a cloth, place the loaf seam side up, so the good side is facing down, and pleat the cloth to support the bread and leave in a warm place.If you want to make other shapes, repeat with the other half of the dough.If you want to apply sesame seeds, or other grains that are not traditional on French style Baguettes, mist the top of the dough with a spray bottle of water and roll the baguette gently into a tray that has the seeds spread into it before you place it on the cloth or baking trayThis gives a more even coating.

Step 6: The bread needs to be baked.

When the bread is proofed and ready to bake, gently turn it over and use a sharp razor blade to cut it on a regular diagonal pattern.Kitchen knives don’t do this well.Cut a small amount into the bread.

Step 7: You can transfer the loaf into the oven by sliding it onto a flour lined tray or a baking peel.

Leave them in for another 10 to 15 minutes and then close the door and bake.You can use this method to make a long very thin loaf, which you can cut up into smaller loaves, and then make thin bread sticks like the Italian grissini loaves.You can make hot dog rolls by pressing the two ends of the dough together and making a loop like a bagel.

Step 8: Take the dough and divide it in half.

When the rectangle is rolled out and folded in half, follow the same method as Baguettes.

Step 9: The loaf should be made.

Turn the cylinder of dough over and pinch the seam to make a loaf.To make a Vienna loaf, the bread should be noticeably larger in the middle and this is done using very light pressure applied to the ends of a round loaf.

Step 10: Proof the bread.

For undecorated breads, leave the bread seam side up for at least an hour or until doubled in size.Cut a pattern into the bread with a razor and bake it.

Step 11: Take 40–45 minutes to bake.

The same method as baguettes is used to generate steam in the oven.The bread should sound hollow when tapped at the base.If you want, leave the oven on to further crisp up.

Step 12: The dough needs to be gathered.

You can split the half to make 2 loaves or 1 large loaf.For beginners, it’s easier to start folding the edges of the dough and pressing them into them middle, turning and pleating them as you go.You will usually have a nice round loaf once all the edges are pressed in.Roll or rock the ball around the bench top to round the loaf’s edges.The pinched side will end up at the bottom of the loaf.Place your hand on the side of the dough, palm facing it, for more practiced bakers.Press the side of the ball with your hand and push it forward.As you do this, the dough should rotation.The dough is stretched after a few reps into a nice round shape.

Step 13: Proof doubled in size.

You can use a razor to make a variety of decorations with this bread, such as a spiral from the outside into the centre, diagonal slashes, or a cross.

Step 14: For 35 to 40 minutes, bake.

When cooked, the base of the load should sound hollow.Leave the dough in the oven for another 10 minutes if it feels heavy.

Step 15: The dough needs to be gathered.

You can split the half to make 2 loaves or 1 large loaf.Cut each portion into 3 pieces.To make sure each portion is equal, use a scale and calculator.It’s better to make a big loaf of bread into a 4-plait, rather than divide it into 4 for an even more attractive plait.

Step 16: Roll each third into a Baguette.

If you want to tuck this seam underneath the finished plait, gather the three together and pinch at one end.

Step 17: A plait is made with the bread.

If you look at the three portions as a simple pattern, folding one strand over another, you will run out of dough.If you want, you can use an egg wash or mist seeds with water.

Step 18: Proof doubled in size.

It should be on a baking tray.For 500g loaves, bake for 35 minutes.You can either plait small rolls for an attractive finish or fold them in on themselves to make a loop.Allow to proof if you flatten the roll slightly.

Step 19: The portions need to be prepared.

For large rolls, divide the dough into 10 balls or 13-15 balls.To get even sizes, use a scale and calculator.

Step 20: Make the rolls.

Press the dough ball flat on the table in a round shape and form into a nice circle using one of the two methods: Like the round loaf above, pinch or press the edges into the middle.A nice round finish can be achieved by pinching the centre and rock or rotating the ball on the bench.The roll is turned over so that the pinched part is not visible.Press the dough flat with the palm of your hand and roll the ball around quickly.The outsides of the dough should be pulled in your palm and as you roll in a tight circle, it will make a nice shape.Lighten the pressure as you go, but with this method it is a practice to develop – if the dough is to soft it doesn’t always work, too tight and needs longer to proof.

Step 21: You can decorate as you please.

You can either dip in seeds or slash them as per the round loaf.If you cut the edges vertically with scissors, the roll will look similar to an artichoke flower.If you want to transfer them to a hot stone, place them directly on the baking tray.Proof was doubled in size.If you want a crisp crust, splash the oven with water.

Step 22: For the next 10 minutes, bake.

When tapped, the rolls should be golden and hollow.

Step 23: The portions should be prepared.

For large rolls, divide the dough into 10 balls or 13-15 balls.

Step 24: Roll the balls into the little baguettes.

Wrap the other end of your thumb around your fingers and away from you.To form a simple knot, the dough end should be tucked underneath the loop.This is similar to tying a balloon.Roll the dough thinner and tie a double knot, reef knot or any other form of pretzel which is also attractive.Pick up the dough in the middle, twist the two halves around each other, and then tuck the exposed ends underneath to make a round knot.

Step 25: You can decorate as you please.

As per the Baguette method, you can dip in seeds or grains.If you want to transfer them to a hot stone, place them directly on the baking tray.Proof was doubled in size.If you want a crisp crust, splash the oven with water.

Step 26: For a few minutes, bake.

When tapped, the rolls should be golden and hollow.

Step 27: Divide your dough into 1 or 2 loaves.

A Benetton is a basket made of willow cane and can be round or long.Sometimes, but not always, the Benetton is lined with a cloth so it can’t stick.The basket should be twice the size of the dough you put in.It is easy to buy Benetton s online.If the wicker baskets have minimal gaps between the canes, you can use them.Before use, wash and dry them.Before use, flour them.

Step 28: The dough should be shaped.

If you want a batard style, mould the dough according to the shape.Place the bread side up.

Step 29: Proof was doubled in size.

Lift the bane ton off the hot stone or baking tray by Invert the Benetton and bread onto it.The good side should be up.Further decoration is usually unnecessary as the wicker cane and flour leaves a pattern in the dough, but you may add some slashes with a razor to add extra details.

Step 30: For 35-40 minutes, bake.

Step 31: The dough should be rolled into a large sheet.

The dough should be at least 20 cm wide and 1 cm thick.You can do this in batches.

Step 32: The edges need to be cut.

Pizza like slices can be made by cutting the dough into triangle strips at least 10 cm wide.

Step 33: Place the rolls.

Take the slices from the wide end to the narrow and bend them into a crescent.

Step 34: For a few minutes, bake.

When tapped, the rolls should be golden and hollow.

Step 35: The above methods can be used to prepare your loaf or rolls.

Ordinary household objects can be used to make stenciled loafs.The stencil can be applied or held above the bread if the dough is misted with water.It is possible to leave a pattern or silhouette through the use of flour or other topping.There are slots and bars in a baking rack, where the cake cooling rack can be diamonds, squares or a spiral.The pattern in the flour on the bread will be left when the stencil is removed.You can use baking paper to make a letter or shape.You can use a spoon like a wooden spoon to leave a silhouette.

Step 36: After the bread has been proofed, apply your stencil.

If you add it before, it may end up warped.

Step 37: The bread should be baked as per the recipe.