Before shaping a boule or batard loaf, dough is often preshaped into a boule (ball). This preshaping allows the final shape to achieve a tighter surface tension, which helps the loaf maintain its shape through proofing and baking, and helps cuts to open nicely during baking.
This video demonstrates my method for preshaping a boule.
(If you can’t see the video here, view it on YouTube.)
A preshaped boule is typically covered and left to “bench rest” for 20 – 30 minutes before the final shaping. This allows the dough to relax and renders it more cooperative for the final shaping process.
To shape the final boule after the preshaped boule has bench rested, flip the preshaped boule over so the smooth side is down on the counter, firmly degas it into a flat round disc, and proceed exactly as for the preshaping, making the final surface tension as tight as it can be without tearing the dough.
Coming soon: how to shape a batard from the preshaped boule.