Roll the dough back and forth to even it out. For straight sided batards and baguettes, the long side should be straight as possible (cylindrical). Directions for Shaping the Batard Bread Dough. To be able to make proper scoring on sourdough breads you need firstly need to develop the gluten in your dough properly, you need to ferment your dough for the right amount of time and you also need to shape your bread properly. 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. First, you will want to mold it into a slightly oblong shape. 1. Shaping the dough can be slightly tricky. Finally, after 50 minutes (20 with steam, 30 without) the loaves are baked and the effect of scoring and shaping is evident. The actual scoring is important for oven spring for example. The effect of scoring on loaf shape. When scoring, you need to cut deep enough to allow the bread to expand—but not so deep that it damages the shape of the loaf. This requires a honed blade and confident technique. Also, I’ll shape more gently and not stitch the dough on the bench or in the proofing basket. Remember, it should be smaller than a foot, so don’t stretch the dough beyond that length. If you’re on Instagram you should check me out — I have a bunch of short video clips of various things like shaping, scoring, etc. ... for seeing the angle at which you slashed the batards. 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. As many times as I 've heard 20-30 degrees, I was holding the blade at a much higher angle. It should be smaller than one foot. Gérard suggests that the beginner identify and count his or her movements when shaping batards and then analyze them one by one in order to eliminate those which aren’t truly necessary. Hesitation can cause tears in the bread. With an oval form whose length can be anywhere between that of a baguette (60-70 cm) and a boulot (20-25 cm) [ref: The Taste of Bread, p 74], the batard along with the boule are perhaps the two most commonly used shapes for free-form breads. There is some crust tearing on the lower right side of the left batard, and on close inspection a number of minor tears in the crust of the left loaf. He produces batards which he will call baguettes if pushed. Mold the dough into a slightly oblong shape (think of a football). Use different scoring patterns for different types of bread. Make sure the ends of the dough are evenly rounded. 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