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The Mighty Batard

The Mighty Batard

By: Cecilia Buyswheeler-Gunther (Read Bio)

The Mighty Batard
A batard is like a chubby overfed baguette. But I think they are easier to make than baguettes - especially for me - The Impatient Baker. As long as you get lots of steam into the oven they will bake crusty on the outside with a light medium crumb on the inside. These breads are great for lunch and make a perfect small sandwich.

Ingredients and Instructions

Poolish (mixed up the night before--see notes below)

  • Heaping 1/3 cup High Protein Bread Flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • pinch of yeast

Add the yeast to the flour, whisk, then add the water and give this mixture a quick stir until all the flour is incorporated. Cover and leave out on your counter overnight - if it is a warm night you can rest it in the fridge - for 12 - 18 hours. I usually make it on the way to bed and proceed in the morning.

 


 

Batard Dough:

  • 3/4 cup of room temperature water (+ 1/4 cup of water on hand for adjustments)
  • 2 1/2 cups High Protein Bread Flour (or Sifted Artisan or Italian Style Pizza Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon of instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  1. In a large mixing bowl: Whisk the instant yeast and the flour together.

  2. Add the water to the poolish. Mix together.

  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients. Mix until all the flour is incorporated. I use a paddle attachment on my stand mixer. No longer than 4 minutes for this step. Allow to rest and relax for 20 minutes. The rest periods are very important to gluten development.

  4. Turn the dough out onto the counter, pat down with wet hands and sprinkle with the salt. Gently fold all four sides into the middle, flip over, pull together and rest. Repeat these stretches every 30 minutes for two hours. I usually just upend the bowl over the dough after each stretch.

  5. Divide the dough into two. Shape your batards. Be gentle. There are many ways to shape a loaf but this is what I do. Gently pat the dough out into a circle then stretch and fold one side into the middle and the other side in to the middle touching your first fold. You have made a rectangle. Go to the short side of the rectangle and gently stretch and roll the dough into a cylinder. Gently press all the edges together and settle with the seam side down. . These will be like two fat oversized baguettes.

  6. Place on a parchment covered pizza paddle, cover with a damp cloth or oiled shrink wrap and allow to puff up and rise for around two hours depending on the warmth of your kitchen. Remember these proofing times are only suggestions - there are so many variables to proofing times.

  7. About 60 minutes into the rise turn your oven to 480F so the baking steel gets good and hot. Place an empty baking tin in the base of the oven to heat up as well.

  8. When the loaves are light and puffy and the oven is hot throw a couple of handfuls of ice into the metal container. We need steam.

  9. Swiftly score the batards then launch them onto the baking steel; paper and all. Turn the oven down to 425F.

  10. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Allow to cool before cutting, then eat the same day you bake them.

Notes

Lately I have been experimenting a lot with using a poolish to give our flours a little extra oomph, a little extra rise, more bubbles but not those crazy bubbles that we see in a sourdough loaf. Just little air-holes that we can butter over.

A poolish is a very simple and useful way of adding depth of flavor and strengthening your gluten potential and elasticity. As long as you remember to make it the night before.

To create a poolish, just combine equal parts of flour and water with some of the yeast. The poolish is fermented at room temperature long enough for it to double in volume and start to recede, which will take approximately 12-16 hours.

Posted on February 26 2021