Why Shaping Dough Is Important (Even for Bread Machine

Sneak Peek: Shaping dough is important, even when using a bread machine. Read why and learn how to shape a simple sandwich loaf.

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Are you a stuffer or a shaper when making a loaf of bread? Do you plop the dough in a loaf pan and give it a couple of love pats, or do you show it love with gentle discipline, patience, and guidance?

Whether you mix and knead your bread dough using a bread machine, a stand mixer, or by hand, shaping the dough improves the crumb texture, the crust, and the overall appearance.

I wrote this post primarily for bread machine users looking for a way to make fabulous bread, as seen in good bakeries. However, the benefits of shaping as described here apply to most yeast dough recipes. Exceptions include Classic sourdough bread made without commercial yeast (more complicated) and no-knead bread.

If you want to shape dough for something other than a loaf pan (for example, a braid, a boule, a batard, etc.), I have included pictures and instructions for shaping inside most of the 65+ bread machine recipes on this website.

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