French bread flattens when baking

Joined Jan 11, 2010
I'm pretty good at working with yeast except when it comes to baking French bread. My French dough rises well in the bowl. However, when I shape it into loaves and bake them, they spread outward and flatten.

The final product tastes good. Just doesn't look to good.

Any suggestions?
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Chances are you're not creating enough surface tension when shaping the loaf.

Start by forming the dough into a rough rectangle. Fold the bottom third upwards, as if you were folding a letter. Degassing as little as possible, seal that edge. Then bring the top third down. Using the edge of your hand, seal that edge by pulling down on the dough and folding it under. I like to stretch it enough so the seam is centered on the bottom.

Basically, you're creating a sort of skin.

Then bake your normal way.

With the proper amount of surface tension the bread will rise up more than spread outwards.

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