Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to Shape a Free Standing Loaf (Batard)


A tutorial on how to shape free standing loaves or hoagie rolls also called batards.

When baking bread you will sometimes want to create a free standing loaf, or batard.  This is the typical shape of Italian bread and many other rustic style breads.  This shape is also used to make hoagie rolls, just smaller.  The process is simple but is always good to know.

First start with your risen dough.

This you will cut into pieces of the desired size for your finished product.  I am making Italian bread and it makes 2-1 pound loaves.  Sometimes I make 3 smaller loaves so they fit on my baking stone better.  Cut into even smaller pieces this makes great hoagie buns.

Gently pat the dough into a rough rectangular shape trying to degas the dough as little as possible.  Make a gentle depression down the center of the rectangle.

Roll and stretch the top of the rectangle over to touch the center.  Seal the dough by pressing down.  The goal is to create some surface tension in the dough.

Roll and stretch the top of the dough again, but this time to meet the bottom of the rectangle.  Again seal the seam creating even more surface tension.  The dough should be relatively cigar shaped.  Then gently rock and roll the dough to even out the shape and place seam side down on parchment paper.

Now you have a free standing loaf or batard.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for the second time, score and bake.  The process is the same for hoagie rolls just smaller.  Now go and make some bread.  Enjoy. 

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