Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Simple Boule

I've been trying to get back to baking more often as I grew up with my mom baking frequently, and as an adult have done less baking than when I was younger.  So, I've been trying my hand at breads lately and was suggested one by a good friend recently.  She is somewhat of a foodie herself and based on her recommendation I gave it a shot and succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.  This is a very simple recipe that you leave to rise overnight.  After 14 hrs or so of rising it's rolled one last time in some flour or cornmeal and it bakes in a dutch oven, which I'd never done before.  In any case, this recipe I'm posting is our variation of this recipe and has a couple of extra flavor enhancers tossed in so feel free to experiment cause it's hard to mess this one up.

And what would go better with baking some bread than Propaghandi with their early track titled "Who Will Help Me Bake This Bread" off of their album How to Clean Everything. - justin

Simple Boule
Time: 15 to 16 hrs
Difficulty: medium
Serves: 6-8

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt)
  • 1 tsp herbs de Provence ( or 1/4 tsp each: thyme, fennel, basil, savory, lavender)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  •  3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 1% milk)
  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
Combine the flour, salt, herbs, and garlic in a large mixing bowl.  Warm the millk and water to a lukewarm temp either on the stove or in a microwave safe dish.  The liquid should not be hot, merely lukewarm, no more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  Add the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.  After five minutes add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to mix.

Just stir in the liquid until the dough forms into a ball and deposit in an oiled bowl that will have enough room for the dough ball to double in size.  Cover with a wet towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 6 hrs or so.

After 6 hrs or so make sure the dough has doubled in size.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and fold onto itself a couple times, using a little flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and counter top.  After the dough has been worked back down to a smaller size, just a minute or two of kneading, return to the oiled bowl, cover again with a wet towel and let rise at least another 6 hrs. 

After the second 6 hr rising period, once again kneed the dough ball a couple times, no more than 2 or 3 folds, and let rise, covered, for a final 2 hrs.

30 minutes before you are ready to bake the bread pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.  Place an 8qt dutch oven inside to pre-heat along with the oven.  When ready to bake, place the dough ball in the dutch oven, seam-side facing up, cover with the dutch oven lid, and bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the lid from the dutch oven and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove the loaf of bread and set on a rack to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

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