How to Shape a Sourdough Bâtard (Oval Loaf)

Learn how to shape a bâtard (oval loaf) for fluffy sourdough bread!

Bâtard loaves are my favorite to bake because they typically turn out fluffier than boules. The difference in the shaping process results in a more structured loaf. The term Bâtard in French means "bastard". At first, French bakers used to shape their bread into only two forms: baguette and boule. The use of term "bastard" in French is commonly used more like "cross-breed." Since Bâtard loaves are somewhere in between baguettes and boules, the name Bâtard was used.

Start by placing your dough on a floured work surface.

Stretch 2 ends of the dough to start to form a rough rectangle.

Stretch the other sides of the dough until it is about ¾-1" thick and resembles a rectangle.

Fold the long sides of the dough into the center to form a thin rectangle. Don't overlap the sides.

Fold the short end of the rectangle over itself and start rolling the rectangle into a cylinder.

As you roll the dough into a cylinder, gently stretch the sides to start to form a longer cylinder.

Fold the short ends of the dough under the dough ball.

Use a bench scraper to pull the long sides of the dough under the bottom and shape the dough into a more uniform cylinder.

Place the dough in a floured banneton proofing basket, seam side up. Seal the seams with your fingers.

Spread a little bit of flour over the seam so it's not sticky. Cover and refrigerate for 1-24 hours. 

Follow the recipe below for complete baking instructions!