Mini Boule on a Wire Rack
Instead of doing a Wordless Wednesday today, I thought I’d do a little how-to.  If you’ve never made bread at home, you should make some soon, because there are few things better than pulling out a freshly baked hot loaf of bread out of your oven and slathering it with whipped butter.   This post is going to show you how to shape a boulé, which is a rounded loaf.  If you wish to shape a baguette, you first have to go through the process of shaping the dough into a boulé, so this is a good place to start.  Let me take you through the steps:

Start with your dough out on a lightly floured countertop:Piece of Unshaped Dough on Countertop
Use the palms of your hands to pull down the sides of the dough and shape it into a tight ball:
How to Shape a Boule - Pulling the Sides Down with Palms of Hands
Take the excess dough that you have pulled down and pinch at the bottom of the loaf (I’ve turned mine upside down to show you):
Shaping a Boule by Pinching Dough At Bottom
Here’s the top view.  Pinch and pull that dough under the ball:
Holding Dough Tightly at Bottom
What we’re doing is creating surface tension, and that surface tension ensures that the bread bakes up into a nice little ball instead of spreading out into a flat disk:
Raw Shaped Bread Dough On Parchment in Boule Shape
It’s ready for its final rise and bake!