The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Shaping a batard video

Floydm's picture

Shaping a batard video

I put together a video today.

Aside from the fact that I mumble quite a bit, it didn't turn out too bad, did it?

I dunno... what do people think: would more multimedia content on the site be useful? I tried to do a vid of me scoring these loaves too, but I ran out of room on the memory card. Still learning how to do this.

Oh yeah, here is what the bread looked like done:

french bread

Quite good.

sphealey's picture

> I dunno... what do people think: would more

> multimedia content on the site be useful?


Based on watching this one, I would say yes. It is helpful to see a real person doing this task rather than a breadbaking demigod from the King Arthur Education Center. The former is more likely to be closer to the technique that a learner would use. Sorta like younger siblings: they learn to walk by watching their older sib, not adults.




PS You might want to dub over the adjective you used to describe your kids' activity; perhaps "wild ones" might be better!

Floydm's picture

It is helpful to see a real person doing this task rather than a breadbaking demigod from the King Arthur Education Center.

Ha ha... baking demigod I am not.

You might want to dub over the adjective you used to describe your kids' activity;

Are you in the UK? I remember the brouhaha in the UK when Tiger Woods used that term on TV. In the States it is about as innocuous a term as you can use. I've heard teachers use it when telling students to settle down. I hear it (or use it) all the time at playgrounds and in kids' playgroups and I've never heard anyone take offence to it. I will try to avoid using it on camera next time though.

And to think I almost called this thread "Let's Get Batarded" after the politically incorrect Black Eyed Peas song with a similar title.

apers's picture

yes more video please!!!!!


that was wonderful.  And that bread looks so totally yummy.


So yes, more video please! 



weavershouse's picture

That was great video. Reading about shaping a batard would not be near as much help as your video. And that bread is so beautiful may I ask what recipe you used? weavershouse

Floydm's picture

A simplified rustic bread.... basically my daily bread with about 10% whole wheat flour. I totally winged it on the measurements, so I have no idea what the final hydration was.

mountaindog's picture

Floyd the video was great, and would love to see a slashing lesson done by a home baker next!

demegrad's picture

I think the video is great and more videos on the site would be even better.  Sometimes it's so hard to accurately describe so many things about dough, I believe this stems from the fact that it is a living thing.  Anyway, these sort of information is awesome not to mention the inspiration it gives me to makes come batards.


Thegreenbaker's picture

FLoyd thats wonderful!

Thank you for making this video! I havent actually had a chance to read much about shaping loaves in my new BBA, but YOur vidoe has made me a little more mindful of reading them and trying them out. I will be referring to it and BBA next time I make bread :)


Thanks again Floydm!




Kate's picture

It was great to see someone do it live - it's so hard to visualize what people mean reading it in a book. Would love to see more. Slashing definitely. I always squish my bread way too much when slashing. I like the title "Let's Get Batarded," that's funny. And my kids are spazzy, too. =)


Sylviambt's picture

Great video, Floyd. 

I, like so many others, want to see a slasher flick next.  One thing your video has made really clear to me is that many of my batards have been way too dry.

 Thanks for such great instruction and for the invitation to share what we're doing.


In search of the perfect crust & crumb

mountaindog's picture

Floyd or anyone - I made some sourdough batards today copying your technique here and it seemed to work great, but my question is: is it always good practice to degas the dough before folding into a batard? I know it is supposed to even out the crumb, but when I did mine today, even though I let them proof enough, the crumb was even but the holes were smaller than I typically like to get. Previous to using this technique I used to GENTLY fold the dough 3 or 4 times during first fermentation but then handled it very little when shaping so as not to degas it, and I got nice big holes. Is this just personal preference, or dependent on the type of bread, or are large uneven holes not actually desireable (I always thought they were for rustic artisan bread?). Opinions?

Floydm's picture

I'm in agreement with you that uneven holes are good in artisan bread and that you typically shouldn't degas the dough much when shaping. I certainly didn't mean to suggest that you should completely degas the dough when shaping a batard because, you are right, you'll end up with a very even, dull crumb. Good for sandwich bread, not good for artisan bread.

But I've also found that if you have a fully developed dough and don't degas it some while shaping you don't get much of a final rise. If anything, when I've been too gentle shaping I've ended up with an underfermented dough that doesn't even brown much in the oven. So... I guess it depends on the state of your dough going into the shaping. If it is fully developed, I believe you should degas it some (not completely) to break down some of the bonds to give the yeast something new to feed on. If you dough isn't yet fully developed, folding and not degassing at all is the way to go.

I certainly would say that if you have a technique that delivers a result you like, stick with it. And if you are adventurous, take some video of it and share it with us!

weavershouse's picture

Floyd,Sorry if this is a silly questions but why is it that we want our bread to be full of holes? Does the bread taste better or do we love the olive oil running down our chin? I always try for lots of holes in my bread but I guess I don't really know why. There have been times when I've given good bread full of holes away to someone and I can see when they cut open the loaf they are wondering about the holes. Like maybe I can't get it right. Some are only used to store bought dead bread. They do love it when they taste it though. weavershouse

Floydm's picture

Um... good question, and I'm not sure I can answer adequately.

My hypothesis is that we may be confusing cause and effect. Slow, long fermentation leads to better tasting bread and also creates an uneven crumb. So I think bakers tend to see an uneven crumb as a visual cue that their bread is good. But, yes, then people tend to strive for uneven crumb without knowing why it is good or see uneven holes as an end unto themselves. And you are certainly right that there are times when an uneven crumb is highly inconvenient: good bread comes in many shapes and sizes, and not all breads are well suited for all uses.

That's my take. Anyone else have an opinion?

weavershouse's picture

Thanks for the quick reply. I think you're right...I'm looking for an uneven crumb without thinking about what I'm doing to get it. What I'm doing is what's making a tasty loaf...the holes are just the proof. weavershouse

mountaindog's picture

Floyd - you're batard video was great and I just got confused, I was also reading Emily Buehler's book yesterday where her shaping technigues are very similar and I misunderstood about the level of de-gassing that should occur. Anyhow, the breads still taste great and are still pretty hole-y. (I like the Buehler book, by the way, great details on starter creation and influence of slashing on final shape).


For the WHY of big holes: I pulled out BBA last night and re-read a few sections -amazing how many things you can forget in such a short time! According to BBA, the desireability of large holes is for more intense flavor, which I do detect in my hole-ier breads:


"Much of how a bread's flavor develops through the three oven reactions is determined by the quality of the final rise. As noted throughout, crusty lean breads are improved by retaining a large, irregular hole structure, or crumb. The larger the holes, the easier it is to evaporate the moisture out of the loaf while it is baking, thus intensifying flavor by deeper roasting of the proteins and the fullest possible gelatinization of the starches." BBA, p. 101.


Love the slasher video too, thanks!

ehanner's picture


So much of what I have learned in my quest to become a baker have been from watching videos. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but a video really shows the subtle quality's of the dough and procedures. I remember when I first saw the French fold video how I instantly understood how the gluten was being affected. I think it's very hard to describe the nature of a dough in static words. The "tacky but not to sticky" is hard to get a handle on until you see it in motion. The video clips cooky mentions below are excellent references also. I liked your Battard video and especially liked seeing the finished loaf to see how the spring worked out.

I was going to say that it's hard to find video clips but I just searched for "Video" and see there is a nice selection of video's to choose from. Nice job Floyd!

Cooky's picture

Floyd, the videos are terrific, both this and the slasher flick. I drive myself nuts trying to shape and slash loaves properly, so actually seeing someone else do it is an education worth staying up late for.


I also liked the shaping/slashing videos at as well as the Danielle Forestier videos at the Julia Child Master Chefs series ( Each shows somewhat different techniques than Floyd demonstrated, altough the basic concepts seem to be the same.


One thing was notably different; the French didn't seem much concerned about knocking the gas out of the dough. Both started with dough flattened to the thickness of maybe a pizza crust. Danielle Forestier actually demonstrates how she smacks the dough flat with her open hand before shaping. That did seem to make the multiple fold-and-seal steps a little easier - and did not seem to sacrifice open crumb structure at all. That surprised me, because I had been operating under the notion that open crumb could only be had with minimal handling during the shaping process.


I have tried to reproduce the Forestier technique, with pretty pathetic results. But it was a first try, so I 'll keep at it. And if I ever manage to get past the accidental-comedy stage, I might even make a video!


Anyway, thanks again, Floyd, for the videos and, you know, everything. You are the rock star of bread people!


judyinnm's picture

My slashes never result in the (lovely) really wide gashes your loaves have when they bake - how do you get those?  Is it in the proofing (over or under), is there some time between slashing and putting into the oven - what's the secret?

abrogard's picture

In my experience slashing before the final rise - i.e. slashing the loaf as soon as it is formed and set to rise - and cutting fairly deep will make for a wide gash.

And in my experience there's not really any increase in the size of the loaf from this gashing. If you look at a loaf the circumference limits the diameter, of course, and the circumference remains that which is set by the unslashed dough.

The dough in the slash simply rises to fill the slashed 'wound'.

It looks fine but that's about all it is.


ab :)

copyu's picture

That was an absolutely great demonstration! [It's just a "thing" I have about video...I don't watch TV and I don't go to the movies. I like to "interact" with text.]

A good friend sent me a link to one of his latest vids 3 days ago and I still haven't clicked the link. I will, when I get time to watch a video (of undetermined length) and to have the leisure to send a text response, even if it's only a 3-line e-mail.

When I was a kid (half a century ago) I never saw a book, or even a comic, with glaring errors of spelling or grammar. Since the dawn of the internet, everyone is now able to be an author. Today, most people probably shouldn't bother writing. Even the greatest writers are let down by their editors and, sometimes, made to look foolish.

HOWEVER, I agree with other posters that I've learned more IMPORTANT things about baking from watching videos than from reading my baking library; SO...

I'd say more videos would *probably* be a good thing for the site.

Best wishes and thanks for the useful information.

belle's picture

Great..a picture is worth a 1000 words as they say..question for you...I noticed you only put one of the breads into the plastic bag for rising...It was large enough to fit both breads...Is it okay if you put both breads in the same large plastic bag to rise OR should you keep them in separate bags. Thanks very much

fenchel2c's picture

I am about to launch on my first experience with brötchen (and baking) and want to ask if the approach in the batard video might be the same in shaping brötchen?  It appears to be a series of rolls and tucks altho brötchen is only about 3 and 1/2 inches long.

DonD's picture

Have you seen the shape of the baguettes that the best artisanal bakers are putting out all over France these days? Free form, irregular, pointy ends, stiletto ends, anything but traditional...


copyu's picture

I'm curious, though. There was a bakery in Tokyo which I really liked because they used to offer a "retro baguette". It was darker and crustier than their 'regular' baguette, had a floury coating as found in many Italian breads and the flavor was superb! The 'retro' had very pointy ends—I kinda figured that that WAS the tradition. Am I wrong about this? (Some of us just have to know!)



DonD's picture

From what I understand, a Retro Baguette (abbreviation for Retrodor) is made under license from the Viron Flour Mills in France who supply the flour. I do not think that the shape is the same across the board since the Retro Baguette that I had in Montreal recently had blunt ends (see my earlier blog on Baguettes Tasting in Montreal). I think the name 'Retro' is just a marketing tool to denote nostalgia for the past.


abrogard's picture

Yes, more videos would be a good thing. I wouldn't be baking today if I hadn't seen a video on youtube.

About the batards and all that stuff: I think while it is extra good to have reliable multiple definitive sources for describing how something was done or made or whatever that's a case of keeping stuff for historical accuracy.

It is necessary, it is good, but it is basically history.

In today we should be experimenting and playing and enjoying ourselves and exercising some freedom and joy of life and being...

It is very evident in these forums and others just how crippled our sense of freedom and play and experimentation is.

For myself it is evident in my own life. I drive my wife nuts. I am pedantically exact with nearly everything I do. I can't bake a cake without I've got all the plastic spoon and cup measures.

I am slowly realising how I'm totally missing the point. Failing to understand. Crippling my own growth. I should know the reason for this or that ingredient and then have the ability and desire to vary the quantity according to my taste or my curiosity.

I shouldn't need to read the menu every time... I should have an understanding of the concept and be able to run with that.

What's happened to us I don't know but we've lost something. We're supposed to be the richest and free-est society ever on earth but I don't think we are. Instead we are unimaginative, uncertain, timid followers.

Bakers are right there in the centre of what's been human life for millenia. We've got that far. We've broken free of the supermarket chain.

Now it is for us to get even freer and make ourselves happier and bolder and more confident and gain in knowledge, understand the 'concept' of our mixes and play with them - getting some profit, some gain, even out of those totally unpalatable 'failures', learning perhaps that there is an avenue, a direction that we don't like but others might.

And though it is perfectly valid to keep a painstaking record of just how a batard was baked for however long in whatever place I don't think any contemporary baker need do anything other than happily play with what we might call the 'batard format' and get some real fun out of it.

 Something like that is what I reckon.


ab  :)




jyslouey's picture

A very well presented video, it's extremely helpful to those who are new to bread making.  Thanks for sharing this. 

Jw's picture

Floyd, this is usefull. Maybe have some music in the background (instead of the mubling?)




LindyD's picture

Hi Mac,

Have you explored all the videos available at TFL?  There's a video tab at the top of the page.  

Check out Mark Sinclair's videos from The Back Home Bakery.