Shaping your sourdough

I’ve been shaping batards for a while now. Personally, I like the batard shape because I get more consistent slices when I cut it.

I’ve played around with several different methods of shaping. It can really only be learned through practice and repetition. Truly. I ended up liking the one I learned from @fullproofbaking. It’s hard to describe in words; I hope to make some videos one day soon. However, there are some things that I’ve learned that are best to describe in words.

First, I lightly dust both my bench and the top of the dough (the smooth side).

Then, I gently turn my dough over and try to “square off” the sides so that they’re even and uniform and look like a square or a rectangle. I do this by gently putting my (lightly dusted) fingers under the dough and gently pulling outward--a good and uniform shape is critical.

Next, I fold a “flap” from the bottom on top of the dough. I pat it down gently, and I pop any air bubbles that I see. These are usually bigger bubbles, and they won’t contribute to a nice crumb.

I then put each hand under the bottom corners of the dough with my thumbs on top. If my hands are sticking to the dough at all, I dust them a bit. I then pull each side of the dough outwards, and I fold the right side over to the “exact” middle of the dough. I just eyeball this. The middle helps get a uniform shape. Finally I fold the left side over and on top of the right side. Now, your dough should look like a uniform rectangle. Again, a uniform shape is critical to a good batard. I lightly pat the dough figuring it’ll take out some of the air pockets that are too big.

Then, I pull a “flap” of dough from the top and flip it over on top of the dough--towards the middle but not quite that far. Again, pop any big bubbles that are showing up and give it a light pat. Now I’m going to roll the top over with a little tuck at each roll. The first tuck is just a bit and each one gets a little more. I think about the fact that I want the outside to be taut, but I don’t want to de-gas the dough anywhere else. I end up with the “seam” on the bottom. I like to let it sit on my bench for a couple of minutes to seal the seam.