Monday, January 23, 2012


There are great bakeries making fine varieties of bread; however, nothing beats fresh bread straight from your oven! Making bread may seem tedious, but it is well worth the effort. An excellent bread to try, is a nice rustic French boule. This recipe for "The Miracle Boule," from Laura Calder, and attributed to New Yorker, Jim Lahey, is AMAZING! It takes two days, a dutch oven, and patience. The mature flavor, crisp crust, and pleasantly chewy texture, will ensure that you will make this again and again!

The Miracle Boule

Makes 1 round loaf or "boule"


3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water
Extra flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal, as needed


Mix the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the water to blend. What you'll have is a wet, shaggy, sticky dough, but not so wet as to be batter. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest in a warm place for at least 12 and up to 24 hours. It's ready for the next step when the surface is dotted with bubbles.

Flour a work surface and dump the bread out onto it. Sprinkle over a little more flour and fold it over once or twice. No need to knead. Cover with a tea towel, and let rest 15 minutes.

Using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers, shape the dough into a ball. Coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal. (You need quite a lot of flour because you want to be sure the dough doesn't stick to the towel.) Cover and let rise about 2 hours. When ready, the dough will be more than double in size.

Half an hour before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450 degrees. Put an 8-quart (2 L) lidded cast-iron pot or Dutch oven (cocotte) inside to heat. When the dough is ready, remove the pot from the oven, and using the towel, turn the dough into it, seam side up. (It will look messy, but this is okay.) Give the pan a gentle shake to settle the bread evenly. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until the loaf is nicely browned. Cool on a rack.

Recipe from French Taste: Elegant Everyday Eating, by Laura Calder. (Great Cookbook!)

No comments:

Post a Comment