Peasant Boule: A Little Boule of Bread
A girlfriend who recently moved to the East Coast brought me the most amazing bread in the world after we’d had SweetPea. I finally hit her up for her ah-MAZ-ing recipe. She gave me a collection. This is the first in the series. Nummy nummy is all I can say. Look for a comprehensive post on bread baking next week–a lesson from my eldest sister!
Makes 4 1-lb loaves
3 C lukewarm water
1 ½ tbsp granulated yeast (or 2 packets)
1 ½ tbsp kosher salt (or other coarse salt, not table salt)
6 ½ C unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour
1.5 tbsp of wheat bran added by yours truly
Equipment: pizza stone, empty broiler tray, pizza peel and cornmeal (or parchment paper)
*When preheating, have your pizza stone on the middle rack, and an empty broiler pan on the bottom rack.
In a 5 qt plastic bowl or container (with lid that’s not airtight), add the water and then yeast and salt and mix together. Then add all the flour at once and mix together ingredients with a wooden spoon until it is uniformly moist. Do not knead!
Cover the container with the lid and allow to rise at room temp for at least 2 hours, until it begins to collapse or flatten on top. You can use the dough at any time or may refrigerate the dough for up to two weeks.
Lay out a sheet of parchment paper or dust a pizza peel with cornmeal. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a grapefruit sized portion of about 1 pound. Gently but quickly, use your hands to “cloak” the dough by pulling it into a tight ball so that the outer skin of the ball is stretched and smooth. Shouldn’t take longer than 30-60 seconds. Rest the loaf on the parchment or pizza peel.
If you are using fresh dough, immediately preheat your oven to 450 for 20 minutes. For refrigerated dough, rest your loaf for 20 minutes, then preheat your oven and let the load rest another 20.
Before baking, dust the loaf with flour and slash the top of the loaf about ¼ inch deep a few times. If you are using parchment, slide a rimless cookie sheet under the loaf to transfer it to the stone in the oven. Otherwise, using the pizza peel slide your loaf directly on to the stone. Quickly pour 1 cup of water in to the hot broiler tray and close the oven to trap the steam.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a deep golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire wrack.
I used a pizza stone with cornmeal on the bottom, and let the dough rise in a banneton (a proofing basket my eldest sister gave me for my bday one year). I found the dough I’d refrigerated actually ended up better than the fresh dough. Odd, but true! I also don’t do the steam bath splash–I find it difficult given the size of my oven, and that the baking stone + flour dusted on top gives it a great crust. Look for the deep stuff on bread next week. Love me my bread!