In my continuing pursuit of yummy bread I’ve been going through the book, Local Breads by Daniel Leader. It’s been a fun read and an education on how serious many people take their loaves.
I went through the chapter about baguettes, moved on to croissants and boules and came upon a chapter about batards. I’d never heard of batards.
The book had a photo of a beautiful loaf of whole grain bread fatter and wider than a baguette.
My mind went back to a phrase I remembered from my one semester of college Shakespeare, Hamlet to be specific, in which the Great Dane suspects his friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are laying a trap for him and he plans his own preemptive strike.
He said something about the sport of them being hoisted with their own petard; a petard being some kind of bomb and they being damaged by their own explosion.
This led me to check out the actual meaning of the word petard--thus straying ever farther from bread making.
With a little internet research I discovered that the word petard comes from Middle French peter, to break wind; and petard is a modern French word for firecracker.
Which has nothing to do with bread.
Then I found another site which told me some breads are named after places, but the majority of loaves are named after their shape. Baguette translates to mean “rod,” and boule means “ball.”
Batard can mean either bastard or hybrid as its shape is a cross between the baguette and the boule. Another reference said that batard in bread circles refers to an inferior baguette, half the length and much wider. But although bread from a batard does not have the maximum crust of the classic baguette, its fat shape and doughy middle makes it ideal for sandwiches.
I guess I had farted around long enough and decided to try my luck at making a batard or two myself.
I tried the recipe for whole wheat and rye sour dough bread. It came out not bad.
So now I know the difference between a petard and a batard and a baguette and a boule. But since the guys in my house are not fans of crusty bread I may have to find someone who appreciates this latest creation or buy bigger pants.