How to Create a Perfectly Round Loaf of Bread

Mimic a professional baker's shaping technique with our easier method.

When forming a round boule of bread, it’s important not only to produce a symmetrical shape but also to stretch a “skin” of dough tautly around the loaf so that it holds its shape during proofing and baking. The technique that professional bakers use—which involves tucking and securing ends underneath the ball of dough while it’s upright—is difficult to master without lots of practice. Here’s a method that’s easier for beginners.

Place ball of dough on lightly floured countertop and pat into rough disk. Pull edges of disk in toward center 4 or 5 times, working around circumference.

Gather and pinch corners of folds together to form sack shape.

Turn dough on its side so that "tail" of sack points right (or left, if you are left-handed).

Supporting dough with left hand, roll side of right hand forward over tail of sack, sealing seam tightly with side of hand.

Gently tuck tail underneath ball and return it to upright position.

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