Why do my loaves never come out right?

I have no idea how to handle my dough! What now?

My dough is so hard to score. Once I cut it, it just pools out even though I used a proofing basket…

If these struggles sound familiar, allow me to give you a few fermented tips and tricks to help you keep your dough in check… and in shape. 

My dear Sourdoughmaniacs, 

In today’s post I wanted to show you how I pre-shape and final shape my loaves in the hopes of helping those of you who struggle with getting the hang of it. 

I know handling sourdough can be a bit nerve-racking for new bakers, especially since it is often stickier than we are used to and harder to control, especially if it is a high hydration dough. 

But, have no fear. With a dash of flour on our hands and a little bit of courage in our hearts, we will always be ready to rise to any sourdough occasion. 

Swipe for video tutorials of how I pre-shape and final shape my dough and a step by step guide of both techniques. 


  1. Gently spread the dough into a rectangular shape. 
  2. Fold the dough over itself from the left side to the right.
  3. Remove excess flour.
  4. Fold the dough over itself from the right side to the left.
  5. Remove excess flour.
  6. Finally, roll the dough in on itself from top to bottom. 
  7. The rolled dough should be able to nicely support its own weight and maintain its own shape.
  8. Cover the roll and let it rest with the seam against the table for 10-20 minutes so the dough relaxes.


  1. Once the dough is relaxed, flip it over so that the seam is up and the smooth side is down.
  2. Repeat the process of folding again. 
  3. First fold from the left side to the right. 
  4. Sweep off excess flour.
  5. Then fold from the right side to the left.
  6. Finally, roll the dough from top to bottom once again.
  7. Press the dough gently with your fingers every time you roll it over.
  8. Once it’s rolled, pinch the sides together so that you close the side seam.
  9. Flour the top generously.
  10. Caress and pat gently one last time. (This step is absolutely crucial. 😉)
  11. Place into a generously floured proofing basket. The smooth side goes into the basket and the seam should be looking up. 
  12. If you see that the seam is slipping, you can pinch it together a little bit more.
  13. Cover the basket and leave your loaf to proof. 

Let me know if you found these tips useful and share your favorite shaping technique with me in the comments to spread the love. 

Oh, and don’t forget to tag a friend who could use a helping hand, so that we can all bake the world a better place together. 

Yours truly fermented,


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