The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to get a good gluten sheath on a batard

varda's picture
varda

How to get a good gluten sheath on a batard

After struggling more or less unsuccessfully with Hamelman's written instructions for shaping a batard (which includes a prefold and a rotation) I switched over to Ciril Hitz's approach (see his video on Youtube -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgqPli_sLLM)   This video is fantastic (thanks LindyD) and at least for me gives the definitive approach to boule shaping.   However, I feel that when I finish shaping a batard using his method it is a little limp and doesn't have enough surface tension.  This comes back to bite me later when the dough expands in the oven.   Hitz does batard shaping by rolling the dough up from the back to the front.   I was just searching this site and saw a video from the Back Home Bakery where Mark does the exact same thing but from the front to the back.   I haven't tried this yet, but it looks like it would be a little easier to do the pullback motion that forms the gluten sheath using this approach.  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21607/more-shaping-practice   So how do you get a tight gluten  sheath on a batard?   Front to back (back home) back to front (hitz) prefold and rotate (hamelman).   Something else?  I would love to keep using Hitz's method because it is very easy and intuitive but I think I must be missing some crucial element of it.   Of course the batards in his video look nice and tight.   Thanks! -Varda

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Seems, for me, I get the best results using Mark's methods for all my dough shaping. I make mostly buns, so his "rolls" method is what I get the most practice with. But his batard method is the starting point for most of the other shapes I do: pan loaves, sub rolls, hot dog buns, and occasionally a batard.

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

Front to back or back to front doesn't matter, whatever feels better and easier for you, but practice, practice and even more practice gets you the results!!!


It's also a little bit unfair how easy this pros are making it look. and remember their dough is always in perfect condition when they shape.


 


Thomas

proth5's picture
proth5

Mark's method for batards under Mark's watchful eye. It's pretty good.


But - and this is no secret - I reverted back to the Hamelman method - which is more comfortable for me and in my hands gives me better shape with a nice surface tension.  I really think hand size comes into play and sometimes a method that works well for someone with large hands may not be as comfortable (especially with larger loaves) for someone with smaller hands.


On the other (small) hand - Mark's method for boules is my go to method.  It was night and day improvement over my old method.


I agree with Thomas that practice is really the key - pick a method that feels best to you and then practice it over and over.


And not only is the dough in perfect shape but those guys like Hitz (and Mark...) have serious hand skills honed by making hundreds and hundreds of loaves over years.  It takes time for the average home baker to get nearly the practice that one can get in a production bakery in a week, but eventually it will come.


Have Fun!

varda's picture
varda

Mark demonstrated his shaping method with a dishtowel.   I wonder if you could get anywhere practicing with a dishtowel since there's only so much bread you can make at home.   Your points are all well taken.  Thanks for your help!  -Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

That's a good teaching tool and you can learn alot with it.


But nothing replaces the practice of making many loaves of bread.


Which is why "my teacher" gave me the "homework" assignment to go a bake bread in a bakery environment.


And why I am so grateful to Mark for the opportunity.

varda's picture
varda

but not an option for me.   (And I doubt a bakery would want me getting in the way, as I'm a bit clumsy as well as forgetful.  But I digress...)   But why are  you putting quotes around your teacher?   Great that you had that opportunity.  -Varda

proth5's picture
proth5

"My teacher" is a real person whose name I will not name.  S/he is not Mark (who is posting for new victims - I mean interns).


I always use the quotes to indicat that I am referrring to this individual.