With an oval form whose length can be anywhere between that of a baguette (60-70 cm) and a boulot (20-25 cm) [ref: The Taste of Bread, p 74], the batard along with the boule are perhaps the two most commonly used shapes for free-form breads. The batard gets its oval form through a classically two stage shaping process; first the upper half of a flattened round of dough is folded inward towards the horizontal center line using two or more folds, then the dough is rotated 180° and the identical action is performed on the other half of the flattened dough round. This serves to build up dough bulk at the center of the loaf, and thus produce an attractive expansion of the dough during the oven spring stage of baking.
Another, in my opinion much easier way of achieving the same result is by using what I have come to think of as the “inverse-croissant” batard shaping method. When a croissant is shaped, a triangular piece of dough is rolled up, starting from the base of the triangle and rolling toward the apex. What one gets is an oval shape with a narrowing strip of dough running on the outside of the shape. However, if one were to start rolling at the apex and roll towards the base, the narrowing strip of dough would be on the inside of the shape and serve to increase the dough bulk at the center of the shape, exactly the effect we are looking to achieve.
The actual batard shaping procedure can be seen below: The dough round is first flattened and then two edges are folded inward to form a triangle. The triangle is then rolled up with the objective being to maintain tension on the outside surface of the dough. After a second fermentation, scoring and baking, a beautiful batard can be realized.