Shaping Styles: Baguette

Appears in
The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking

By French Culinary Institute

Published 2021

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Form a scaled portion of dough into an almost rectangular shape. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface with the shorter end facing you and, with the palm of your hand, push lightly to degas slightly. Pull the top short side into the center, making a seam, then fold the whole piece over itself to form a neat rectangle. Flip the rectangle over and tighten it slightly by cupping your hands together around the top of the dough and gently pulling the dough toward you, working quickly and easily until you have a neat, fat, almost oval shape that stands up well. Set the oval seam side down to bench rest. After it is done resting, using a bench scraper, lift the dough on the long side and turn so that the long side is facing you and push lightly to degas slightly. Fold the top third down into the center and seal the seam with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough around and repeat the process. There should now be a little groove where the seam has formed. If you are right handed (or reverse if you are left handed), place your left thumb on the center seam and fold the dough over your thumb, using your fingers to push the dough up and over your thumb, moving down the length of the dough. Use the heel of your hand to seal the dough closed at the seam. Repeat this process twice, with the final fold being exactly in half. Place your hands one on top of the other and using just a little pressure, begin rolling the dough from the center out (a 350-gram / 12½-ounce piece of dough should roll out to about 23 inches long). To achieve the tapered ends needed for a baguette, apply more pressure at both ends while rolling. This same process is used to make the strands for Challah, Sourdough Bagels, and Pretzels.