As many first time bakers can attest, the toughest part about home baking is often getting a feel for handling the dough. This takes time, patience and practice, but it helps to know where to start!

A good technique to learn is the pre-shape, which is an important intermediate step in the 10 Steps of Bread Making. In the pre-shape phase, you give the dough a loose suggestion of where it’s heading, which makes the final shaping easier.

Here, we’ve broken down the pre-shaping of a baguette into 5 clear steps.

Step 1 – Divide dough loosely into a square shape using a bench scraper, and arrange any small extra pieces on top.

Preshape1

Step 2 – Gently flatten the dough.

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Step 3 – Grasp the top edge of the dough and fold the top third to the center. Use your thumb to seal.

Preshape3

Step 4 – Take the top edge of the dough once again, and fold the top edge to the bottom edge. Press gently to seal.

Preshape4

Step 5 – Rock dough back and forth to tighten. Rest dough on the table with the seam facing down.

Preshape6

Note: Be sure to work on a floured surface so that your dough doesn’t stick! 

Are you having trouble with your baking technique? Drop our bakers a line in the comments section below and ask us!