Sounds like you need a brotform! Also known as a brotformen or a bread- or dough-rising basket (or, in France, a banneton), this mold girdles your dough during its second rise. During this period, when the dough has a tendency to relax and spread, the basket cradles it gently, which results in a taller, more uniform shape, a crunchy, textured crust (more delicious bread), and a hypnotizing spiral pattern I once attributed to magic or aliens.
Yes, you can improvise with a greased bowl or a linen-lined colander, but as Natasa Djuric of My Daily Sourdough explains, the material of a brotform (in this case, that's cane) allows the dough to breathe during its final rise. Ahh.
And while bowls can offer a temporary home for rising boules, their round shape is, obviously, not suited to oblong loaves or baguettes. The Frieling brotforms in our Shop come in various shapes and sizes so that your miche can be as snug as your sandwich bread.
Flour the basket generously (sift flour directly over top of it and rub some into the coils—too little flour and your dough might stick or the markings may not be visible). If you just want the shape benefits without the distinctive markings, line the basket with a floured tea towel.
Plop your shaped dough in, nice side down.
Give it some breathing room (that is, cover in a tea towel or as directed and leave it alone) while it takes the second rise.
Flip the dough out of its cozy-basket-home and onto whatever implement you'll use to transfer it to the oven—a cornmeal-dusted baking peel, a piece of parchment paper...
Make a slash in the dough using a serrated knife, lame, or straight razor so that the steam can escape from the bread in a controlled manner.
Bake as directed in the recipe (or as you prefer! I like to use a preheated Dutch oven).
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.