That got your attention, right? But I didn’t give it that unfortunate moniker, the French did (of course). Only the French would come up with a name like that for a baked good. The batard (Eng: bastard) got its name because it is not quite a baguette and not quite a boule. It has more crumb than a baguette but not as much as a boule. It happens to be my family’s favorite particularly for that crust to crumb ratio. You get that crust to crumb ratio by folding and sealing the dough fewer times than you would a baguette.
If you are going to be making French bread often you might consider investing in a baguette pan like this one. It will help the baguettes or batards retain their shape as they ferment.
Please enjoy these short videos on how to do the stretch and fold method for dough and how to shape a batard:
4.5 cups (567 g) bread flour
1.5 tsps (11g) salt
1 tsp (3.5 g) instant yeast
13.5 oz (385 g) room temp water
1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix all ingredients on slow speed for one minute. Increase speed to medium slow and mix for another minute. Let rest for 5 minutes then mix at medium slow again for another 30 seconds.
2. Transfer to a lightly oiled work surface and perform 4 total stretch and folds (per video). After each of the first three stretch and folds cover with a bowl and let rest for 20 minutes. After the final one, place in a lightly oiled bowl and lightly cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.
3. Gently transfer to a lightly floured work surface and divide into three equal portions. Gently shape each into a batard (per video). Then transfer each loaf to either a parchment lined cookie sheet or a baguette pan. Either will work but a baguette pan will retain the shape of the loaf better. Spray either with cooking spray first. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 60 minutes.
4. Halfway through the final fermentation, heat up the oven to 500F with a pizza stone on the middle rack (if you have one). If you like your bread crust extra crispy then place a pan on the bottom rack (you will put water in it later for steam).
5. When the loaves are done with their final fermentation, make 3 diagonal slices through each loaf. I spray each one with water for a lighter crust. If you prefer a crispier crust then carefully pour in a cup of water into your preheated pan.
6. Either way place the baguette pan or parchment-lined pan with your loaves directly on the pizza stone and bake for 5 minutes at 500F. Reduce the temp to 450F and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until you achieve a golden crust and the internal temp is at least 200F.