Batard bread is a traditional French loaf made with a simple combination of just four ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast.
If you’re new to baking, this recipe is an ideal introduction – while it looks impressive when served on the table, its relatively straightforward technique makes mastering the art of batard bread both accessible and achievable.
From kneading through to proving, we’ll guide you through each step so you can create your own homemade crusty loaves in no time.
So come join us on our journey as we explore how to make batard bread –the ultimate way to impress family and friends!
What is batard bread?
Bâtard bread (also spelled “batard” or “battard”) is a type of bread that originated in France.
It is a traditional French bread that is similar to a baguette but with a thicker and shorter shape. Bâtard bread has a crusty exterior and a soft, airy interior with irregularly sized holes.
The word “bâtard” in French means “bastard” or “illegitimate,” and the bread got its name because it is not a traditional shape. It is a cross between a baguette and a boule, which is a round loaf of bread.
Bâtard bread is typically made from flour, water, salt, and yeast. It can be made with different types of flour, including white flour, whole wheat flour, or a combination of the two.
It is a versatile bread that can be used for sandwiches, toasted with butter or jam, or served with soup or salad.
Overall, bâtard bread is a delicious and classic type of bread that is enjoyed by many people around the world.
How to make batard bread
- 500g bread flour
- 10g salt
- 5g instant yeast
- 350ml warm water
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Kitchen scale
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Plastic wrap
- Bread lame or sharp knife
- Baking stone or sheet pan
- Spray bottle
Step 1 – Mixing the Dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour, salt, and instant yeast. Mix the dry ingredients until well combined.
Slowly add the warm water, stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula until the dough comes together.
Knead the dough for 10-12 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Step 2 – First Rise:
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Step 3 – Shaping the Dough:
Gently deflate the dough by pressing down on it. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a rectangle.
Fold the dough in half lengthwise and pinch the seam to seal it.
Repeat the process once more, then shape the dough into a batard by tapering the ends and rounding the edges.
Step 4 – Second Rise:
Place the shaped batard on a floured piece of parchment paper and cover it with plastic wrap.
Let it rise for another hour in a warm place, or until it has doubled in size.
Step 5 – Scoring the Dough:
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Using a bread lame or sharp knife, score the top of the batard with three or four diagonal slashes.
This will help the bread expand during baking. Transfer the batard onto a baking stone or sheet pan and spray it with water using a spray bottle.
Step 6 – Baking the Bread:
Bake the batard in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
This recipe makes one large batard bread with approximately 12 servings. The nutrition facts per serving are:
How to reheat batard bread
Bread is made up of starch, protein, and water. When bread is first baked, the starches and proteins in the dough form a gel-like structure that traps water molecules. This is what gives bread its soft and chewy texture.
However, when bread is stored or reheated, the water in the bread begins to evaporate, causing the bread to become dry and hard.
When reheating bread, the goal is to restore some of the moisture to the bread without making it too soggy.
This is achieved by heating the bread at a low temperature, which allows the moisture to evenly distribute throughout the bread.
Expert Tips for Reheating Batard Bread
Preheat your oven
– Before reheating your batard bread, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
This will ensure that the oven is at the proper temperature to evenly heat the bread.
Wrap the bread in foil
– To prevent the bread from drying out, wrap it tightly in foil.
This will help to trap in the moisture and prevent it from evaporating.
Add a little water
– To add extra moisture to the bread, you can place a small bowl of water in the oven while the bread is reheating.
This will help to create steam in the oven, which will keep the bread moist.
Monitor the bread
– Check the bread every 5-10 minutes while it’s reheating to make sure it’s not getting too dry or burned.
If the bread is getting too dry, you can brush a little olive oil or butter over the top to add extra moisture.
Use a bread thermometer
– To ensure that the bread is heated evenly and to the correct temperature, use a bread thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread.
The bread should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before it’s ready to eat.
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How to store batard bread
Storing bread can be a challenge, especially for artisanal bread like batard, which is known for its crispy crust and soft crumb. Proper storage is critical to maintain its texture, flavor, and freshness.
Understanding the Science of Bread Storage
Bread storage is a delicate balance between moisture and airflow. When bread is baked, the heat causes the moisture inside the dough to evaporate, creating steam that expands the dough and forms the bread’s structure.
As the bread cools, moisture starts to migrate back from the crust to the crumb, softening the crust and keeping the bread moist.
However, bread can quickly become stale and moldy if it’s exposed to too much moisture or too little airflow.
Stale bread happens when moisture migrates too quickly out of the bread, leaving it dry and crumbly.
Moldy bread happens when moisture accumulates on the surface of the bread, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
To prevent stale or moldy bread, it’s essential to find the right balance of moisture and airflow during storage.
This means protecting the bread from excess moisture while allowing enough airflow to keep the crust crispy and the crumb moist.
Creative Ways to Store Batard Bread
Here are some creative ways to store batard bread and maintain its texture, flavor, and freshness:
a. Store at Room Temperature:
Batard bread can be stored at room temperature for up to three days.
Place it in a breadbox or a paper bag to protect it from excess moisture and keep it away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
b. Freeze the Bread:
If you want to store batard bread for an extended period, consider freezing it.
Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn, and place it in a freezer bag.
Frozen batard bread can last for up to three months.
c. Reheat the Bread:
To refresh stale batard bread, preheat your oven to 350°F and wrap the bread in aluminum foil.
Place it in the oven for about 10 minutes to restore its crispy crust and moist crumb.
d. Use a Bread Box:
A bread box is a traditional and effective way to store bread.
It allows enough airflow to keep the crust crispy while protecting the bread from excess moisture.
Keep the bread box in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
e. Use a Bread Bag:
If you don’t have a bread box, you can use a bread bag or a paper bag to store batard bread. Make sure the bag is loosely closed to allow enough airflow, and keep it in a cool, dry place.
Tips to cook perfect batard bread
Choose the right flour
The flour you choose can greatly impact the texture and flavor of your bread.
For batard bread, it is best to use a high-protein bread flour, as it will give the bread structure and chewiness.
Avoid using all-purpose flour, which has a lower protein content and will result in a flatter, less flavorful bread.
Use a sourdough starter
Sourdough starter adds flavor, texture, and depth to your bread. It also helps with the rise and fermentation process.
When making batard bread, use a mature sourdough starter that has been fed at least twice before using.
Mix the dough thoroughly
When mixing the dough, make sure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. This will help with gluten development and create a strong, cohesive dough.
Ferment the dough properly
Fermentation is a crucial step in bread-making that allows the dough to rise and develop flavor.
For batard bread, it is important to let the dough ferment at a cool temperature (around 50-55°F) for at least 12 hours.
This slow fermentation process helps develop a complex flavor and texture in the bread.
Shape the dough carefully
Shaping the dough properly is key to creating a beautiful, rustic batard shape.
To shape the dough, gently stretch and fold the edges towards the center, creating a seam along the bottom.
Use your hands to gently roll the dough into a batard shape, being careful not to deflate the dough or tear the surface.
Score the bread
Scoring the bread with a sharp blade or razor helps control the rise and creates a beautiful pattern on the surface.
For batard bread, make one long, diagonal cut down the center of the loaf.
Bake in a hot, humid oven
The oven temperature and humidity are important factors in creating a crispy crust and tender crumb.
For batard bread, preheat the oven to 450°F and place a pan of hot water on the bottom rack to create steam.
This helps create a humid environment that encourages a crispy crust and tender crumb.
Let the bread cool before slicing
After baking, it can be tempting to immediately slice into your freshly baked batard bread.
However, it is important to let the bread cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
This allows the bread to set and prevents it from becoming gummy or doughy.
Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Batard Bread
Using Too Much Flour
One of the most common mistakes that people make when making bread is using too much flour.
While it may seem counterintuitive, adding too much flour can actually result in a dry and dense loaf.
When making batard bread, it is important to use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and work surface.
You should aim for a slightly sticky and tacky dough that is easy to shape.
Underproofing the Dough
Proofing is the process of allowing the dough to rise before baking.
If you don’t give the dough enough time to proof, it will not have enough time to develop its flavor and texture.
Additionally, underproofed dough may not rise properly in the oven, resulting in a dense and flat loaf.
To avoid this, make sure to give your batard bread dough plenty of time to rise, usually between 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Overhandling the Dough
Another common mistake that can ruin your batard bread is overhandling the dough. When you overwork the dough, it can become tough and dense.
To avoid this, handle the dough gently and avoid kneading it too much.
Use a light touch when shaping the dough into a batard, and avoid pressing down on the dough too firmly.
Not Using a Dutch Oven
A Dutch oven is a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid that is designed for cooking soups, stews, and other dishes.
When it comes to baking batard bread, a Dutch oven is an essential tool for achieving the perfect crust.
The pot traps steam inside, which helps create a crispy exterior and a soft, chewy interior.
If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can use a baking stone or a baking sheet, but you may not get the same results.
Cutting the Bread Too Soon
It can be tempting to cut into your freshly baked batard bread as soon as it comes out of the oven, but this can be a big mistake.
Cutting the bread too soon can cause it to deflate and lose its shape.
Additionally, the bread needs time to cool and set before you slice into it.
To avoid this, let your batard bread cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it.
This will give it time to firm up and retain its shape.
How to serve batard bread
Bruschetta is a classic Italian dish that features grilled or toasted bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.
Batard bread makes an excellent base for bruschetta because of its sturdy crust and soft interior. To make bruschetta, slice the batard bread and grill or toast it until it is golden brown.
Rub the bread with a cut garlic clove and drizzle it with olive oil.
Top the bread with chopped tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar for a fresh and flavorful appetizer.
Crostini is a similar dish to bruschetta, but it typically features smaller slices of bread topped with a variety of ingredients.
To make crostini with batard bread, slice the bread thinly and toast it until it is crispy.
Top the crostini with a spread like goat cheese or hummus, and add toppings like roasted vegetables, olives, or cured meats.
Crostini is a versatile appetizer that can be customized to suit your tastes.
French Onion Soup
French onion soup is a classic dish that features caramelized onions, beef broth, and melted cheese.
Batard bread is a crucial ingredient in this dish because it serves as the base for the melted cheese topping.
To make French onion soup, slice the batard bread and toast it until it is golden brown.
Place the bread on top of the soup and cover it with grated Gruyere cheese.
Broil the soup until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and serve hot.
Panzanella salad is a Tuscan salad that features stale bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.
Batard bread is an ideal bread for this salad because its sturdy crust holds up well to the salad dressing without becoming soggy.
To make panzanella salad with batard bread, cut the bread into cubes and toast it until it is crispy.
Combine the bread with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and fresh herbs like basil and parsley.
Drizzle the salad with a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard.
Bread pudding is a classic dessert that is made with bread soaked in a mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, and spices.
Batard bread is an excellent choice for bread pudding because its open texture allows it to absorb the custard mixture without becoming too dense or soggy.
To make bread pudding with batard bread, cut the bread into cubes and place them in a greased baking dish.
Whisk together the custard mixture and pour it over the bread cubes. Bake the bread pudding until it is golden brown and set, and serve warm with a drizzle of caramel sauce.
5 Difficulties and solutions when making batard bread
Difficulty #1: Achieving Proper Dough Consistency
The dough consistency plays a critical role in the success of the batard bread.
The dough needs to be properly hydrated to achieve the desired texture and flavor.
However, too much water can make the dough too sticky and difficult to handle.
The solution is to use precise measurements of water and flour, and adjust the water content based on the specific flour used.
The dough should also be kneaded properly to develop gluten and achieve the desired consistency.
Difficulty #2: Shaping the Dough
Shaping the batard bread is crucial to achieve its distinctive shape and texture.
However, it can be challenging to shape the dough properly without deflating it or creating uneven sections.
The solution is to use a technique called the “coil fold” method, which involves folding the dough in a specific way to create tension and structure.
Additionally, using a dough scraper can help with shaping and handling the dough without touching it directly.
Difficulty #3: Achieving Proper Oven Spring
Oven spring refers to the rise in the dough that occurs during baking.
This is important to achieve the desired texture and flavor of the batard bread.
However, oven spring can be difficult to achieve due to factors such as oven temperature, steam, and scoring.
The solution is to preheat the oven properly and create a steamy environment by placing a tray of water in the oven or using a spray bottle to mist the dough.
Additionally, scoring the dough before baking can help with oven spring by releasing steam and allowing the bread to expand.
Difficulty #4: Consistent Crust
The crust of the batard bread is an important aspect of its texture and flavor.
However, achieving a consistent crust can be challenging due to factors such as oven temperature, humidity, and baking time.
The solution is to monitor the oven temperature carefully and adjust it as needed.
Additionally, using a baking stone or a Dutch oven can help with creating a consistent crust by trapping steam and creating a more even baking environment.
Difficulty #5: Flavor Development
The flavor of the batard bread is a result of several factors, including the ingredients used, fermentation time, and baking temperature.
However, achieving a complex and well-balanced flavor can be difficult.
The solution is to use high-quality ingredients, such as bread flour and sourdough starter, and allow for a longer fermentation time to develop the flavor.
Additionally, using a high-temperature baking environment can help with caramelization and flavor development.
Benefit of batard bread
Rich in Fiber
Batard bread is an excellent source of fiber, which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Fiber helps to keep your bowel movements regular, prevent constipation, and reduce the risk of developing diseases such as colon cancer.
A single serving of batard bread contains about 3 grams of fiber, which is about 10% of the recommended daily intake.
Low in Fat
Batard bread is also low in fat, making it a great option for people who are watching their fat intake.
Unlike other types of bread that may contain added fats or oils, batard bread is made with minimal amounts of fat.
This makes it a great option for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
High in Protein
Batard bread is also a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue.
Protein also helps to keep you feeling full for longer periods, which can help you to avoid overeating.
A single serving of batard bread contains about 6 grams of protein, which is about 12% of the recommended daily intake.
Contains Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Batard bread is a great source of essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary for good health.
It contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6, which are essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism and energy levels.
It also contains minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium, which are important for maintaining strong bones and a healthy immune system.
Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
Batard bread is also known to reduce the risk of heart disease.
The high fiber content in batard bread helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, which can help to prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
This, in turn, reduces the risk of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.
Boosts Energy Levels
Batard bread is a great source of complex carbohydrates, which are essential for maintaining energy levels throughout the day.
The carbohydrates in batard bread are broken down slowly by the body, providing a steady source of energy that can help you to stay focused and alert.
Finally, batard bread is also known to improve mood.
The carbohydrates in batard bread help to increase the production of serotonin in the brain, which is a chemical that is responsible for regulating mood.
This can help to reduce feelings of anxiety an
FAQs about batard bread
1. How much batard bread should I eat per day?
The amount of batard bread you should consume in a day depends on several factors, including your age, activity level, and dietary needs.
Generally speaking, consuming 1-2 slices of batard bread daily is considered to be an adequate portion size for most people.
2. What tips can I use to make the best tasting batard bread?
To ensure that your batard bread tastes its best, use high-quality ingredients such as flour, sourdough starter, and water.
Additionally, allowing the dough to ferment for longer periods of time will help develop more complex and flavorful notes in the finished product.
Finally, using a higher temperature baking environment (such as a preheated cast iron pan) will ensure that the inside of the loaf is fully cooked while keeping the crust perfectly crispy.
3. Are there any important safety tips to remember when making batard bread?
Yes, it is important to be aware of potential food-borne illnesses when making any type of homemade bread.
Always make sure to use clean equipment and surfaces, sanitize your hands before handling any ingredients, and store leftovers in an airtight container or zip-top bag.
Additionally, never eat raw dough or batter due to the potential risk of salmonella poisoning.
4. What are some healthy ways to enjoy batard bread?
Batard bread can be enjoyed in many different ways.
Adding fresh vegetables, herbs, and cheese to a slice of batard bread can make for a delicious and nutritious meal or snack.
Additionally, you could also use batard bread for sandwiches or toast with your favorite toppings.
5. Is it possible to add more flavor to the batard bread?
Yes! There are many different ways to add more flavor to the batard bread.
For example, you can try adding spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, rosemary, or basil during the fermentation process.
You could also add nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds during the rising stage of making the dough.
Finally, you can even experiment with different types of flours, such as rye flour, to achieve a unique flavor.
6. What other ingredients can be added to batard bread?
Other ingredients that can be added to batard bread include fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, cheeses, meats, olives, and even chocolate chips!
The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to creating your own unique recipes with batard bread.
7. Does the amount of time I allow for fermentation affect the taste of the batard bread?
Yes! Allowing your dough to ferment for longer periods of time will help develop more complex flavors in the finished product.
Generally speaking, you should expect a sourdough-like flavor after fermenting the dough for at least 12-18 hours.
8. How long does batard bread stay fresh?
Batard bread typically stays fresh for up to three days when stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag.
It can also be frozen for up to two months, so you can enjoy a freshly made loaf any time!
9. Are there any mistakes I should avoid when making batard bread?
Yes! Some common mistakes that people make while baking batard bread include using too much yeast, not allowing enough time for fermentation, and over-kneading the dough.
Additionally, it is important to make sure that you preheat your oven and use a preheated baking vessel (such as a cast iron pan) to ensure that the inside of the loaf is cooked all the way through.
Finally, be sure to not over-work or over-mix the dough, as this can cause it to become tough and dense.
If possible, use an electric mixer instead of kneading by hand in order to get a lighter texture in your batard bread.
10. What are some other types of breads I can make with similar ingredients?
You can make many different types of breads using similar ingredients as those used for batard bread.
Some examples include sourdough bread, focaccia, ciabatta, and pizza dough.
Conclusion about how to make batard bread
Making batard bread is an enjoyable and rewarding experience that can yield delicious results.
To get started, gather the necessary ingredients and equipment, mix together the dough, allow for fermentation, shape the loaf, bake it in a preheated oven, and enjoy!
Always remember to keep safety in mind throughout the process and to be creative with your recipes by adding different herbs, spices, fruits, nuts or seeds.
With some practice and patience you will be able to perfect this classic bread recipe.
I am Colin Harper, the founder of Cortonacafe.com. I’m a chef by trade. I’ve been in the restaurant business for over 20 years. I opened my first cafe in 2014, and it’s been a great success. My passion is making people happy through great food and coffee, and I hope to continue doing that for years to come.
I have traveled to many places and love to experience and learn new foods and drinks. I especially enjoy trying out different coffee roasts and brewing methods. I’m always looking for new ways to improve my craft, so that I can provide the best possible experience for my customers.