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. 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.
Step 2 – Gently flatten the dough.
Step 3 – Grasp the top edge of the dough and fold the top third to the center. Use your thumb to seal.
Step 4 – Take the top edge of the dough once again, and fold the top edge to the bottom edge. Press gently to seal.
Step 5 – Rock dough back and forth to tighten. Rest dough on the table with the seam facing down.
Note: Be sure to work on a floured surface so that your dough doesn’t stick!