Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Posted by: Justine
Most of the time the sound of making your own bread can be a super scary sound. This is why many of us avoid it all together. There are enough delicious bakeries out there to satisfy our cravings for fresh bread. Even the neighborhood supermarket’s bakery can really dish out some great loaves of bread, but when you have the time and the patience, it’s so worth it to just make your own. I’m not going to lie to you, it is a lengthy process, but this is one of the easiest recipes to tackle as long as you get your measurements and timing right. In the end, it’s really just all about timing! I’ve spent the past two days making this super easy French Boule, and if it’s your first time making bread, I suggest going with this recipe!
Because Zach is away, I find that I have a lot of time on my hands. Somehow when he’s around, time just flies! When you are by yourself time seems to slow down a bit. Sure I’ve stuck to my same daily routine of cook, eat, blog, but somehow the days just seem longer. I thought it was the perfect time to make bread and write about it. What’s so great about this recipe, is the fact that you don’t have to do a lot. Sure it does take about a day and a half to actually make the darn thing, but it’s basically no-knead. No-knead in this house is like music to my ears (I secretly hate kneading, and love that our KitchenAid can do it for me). I don’t find it therapeutic. I actually find it quite annoying, and then there’s that whole making a mess thing. This seems to happen every time I make a bread that needs to be kneaded. I usually leave Zach to the kneading when we make pizza dough. For some strange reason I think he thoroughly enjoys it.
Anyway, it is critical that you let this baby sit for at least 18-24 hours. You’re really not making a starter, unless you call the dough itself the starter. The starter is already worked into the dough, and works as it sits. If you can’t wait that long, then this recipe is certainly not for you, so plan ahead! I like smaller loaves, which is why this boule is split in two. If you want a huge loaf of bread, don’t be scared to keep it all together when you bake. I just think they are cute when they are small =).
I went a little unconventional with this recipe, and decided to brush the crust with olive oil in the last 15 minutes of baking. I like a super crispy crust, so if you aren’t as obsessed as I am, this step can certainly be skipped. Also, I so wanted to make a cute little design in my crust before I baked, but I forgot! Ugh, I was so mad when I figured out that I had forgotten. If you’re looking for some criss-crosses or lines, cut some designs into the top of your bread before you bake, but don’t cut so far down that you go through the bread. A little indentation will do the trick. You will be surprised what happens once it’s crusted over!
*Please Note* The inactive time on this recipe is out of control, but make sure you follow it! It is so important that you do it in order to get a great boule!
I understand that there is a lot of hate going around on bread and carbs. I understand it’s the New Year, and people are on their resolution diets. I also understand that carbs can really pack on the weight if you’re not exercising regularly, but let’s remember that our bodies NEED carbs to function. They are converted into energy; and if you are an active person, you will truly suffer without them. Again, everything is great in moderation, so treat yourself to some bread every once in a while. I for one would cry for three weeks if bread was taken out of my diet, but that’s just me. And if you have a gluten allergy, I am so sorry =(.
I also have another bit of advice, this bread is delicious anyway you slice it (get it…slice it…bread…ha). ANYWAY, it does have a super crispy crust, and a very soft center. This being said, your average, cheap bread knife is just not going to cut through it. This has happened to me before, and it will happen again. If you could care less how the bread looks as you slice into it, then just ignore everything I just said! But if you do want nice clean slices, you are going to need a super great, sharp bread knife to do the trick. It’s also very important to allow for it to cool for at least 15-30 minutes. It will be much easier to cut through as the middle won’t be so warm…unless of course you want warm bread, then cut away!
This bread is great as sandwich bread, with jam or butter, or all by it’s lonesome (which is how I like it). Tomorrow, Zach comes home! Yay! I’m using my fresh bread to make delicious, unconventional club sandwiches for his arrival. The club sandwich post will be up on Friday for all of you to enjoy =).
Happy Hump Day Everyone! Two more days to go!
- 4 cups all-purpose flour + more where needed
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon active dry (instant) yeast
- 3 cups warm water
- corn meal for dusting
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt and yeast. Once mixed, slowly pour in the warm water, stirring all the while with a heavy wooden spoon. The dough should be super sticky and stringy, but shouldn’t be so thin as to where it looks like pancake batter. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Keep in a warm place (I suggest the oven – unheated) for at least 18 hours and up to 24 hours. Once the dough has set for about a day, roll over onto a generously floured surface. Making sure your hands are also dusted with flour, fold the dough over itself 3-4 times. Let rest for 30 minutes. Once the dough has rested, cut the dough into two even pieces and roll both pieces into a ball. Lightly dust a tea towel with corn meal and place the dough balls on top (smooth area facing towards you – seam side down). Cover the dough with the rest of the towel and stick back in an unheated oven for 2 hours to let rise.
- Once the dough has doubled in size (add or subtract a few minutes to the two hours), place a pizza stone in the oven and lightly coat with corn meal. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and heat the pizza stone along with it. Lightly dust a pizza peel with corn meal and set one dough ball on top (seam side down). Gently slide the dough onto the pizza stone and cover with foil (if you have room you can bake two at one time – if not bake one at a time). Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and brush the top of the boule with EVOO. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Enjoy!