Artisan Boule Bread

Ingredients for Artisan Boule Bread

  • 3 cups of warm (100 degrees F) water

  • 1 tablespoon of granulated yeast

  • 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt

  • 6.5 cups (910 grams) of all-purpose flour

Directions for Artisan Boule Bread

  1. In a 6-quart bowl or lidded food grade bucket, add warm water. The water should feel a little warmer than body temperature. If in doubt, use a cooking thermometer.

  2. Add yeast to the water. I stirred it 2 to 3 times, but the book said you don't have to worry about it all dissolving.

  3. Measure dry ingredients (flour and salt), then add all at once to the water and yeast. Mix with a wooden spoon or a heavy-duty stand mixer with paddle attachment. Mix until ingredients are uniformly moist, with clumps or dry patches. DO NOT KNEAD THE DOUGH. It should only take a few minutes to mix the ingredients into the dough. The resulting dough should be moist and loose enough to conform to the shape of the bowl.

  4. Allow dough to rise. If your dough is in a bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap. If using a lidded container, leave lid cracked open. Allow dough to rise about 2 hours until it begins to collapse or flattens on the top. After this step, you can refrigerate it up to 14 days. Leave your lidded container cracked open the first two days in the fridge to allow gases to escape.

  5. Get ready to bake: a)Prepare pizza peel (or invert a cookie sheet) with cornmeal or parchment paper to prevent sticking when sliding the bread dough onto a baking stone or pan. b) dust the surface of the dough, then cut off a 1-pound piece (grapefruit size) of dough with a serrated knife or kitchen shears. In a shallow bowl or pie pan that has about 1/4 cup of flour, plop the dough in. Cover the outer dough in flour, but do not work it in to incorporate it. Begin forming a ball shape by making quarter-turns and tucking the bottoms down and in. The process should only take about 30 seconds, working it longer could result in dense, tough dough. Check out the book or YouTube video for pictures which demonstrates this process.

  6. Rest the loaf on the pizza peel for 40 minutes or until close to room temperature. I found that placing the peel on a cookie rack allow the air to circulate better and warmed the dough to room temperature faster (40 minutes vs. 60-90 minutes) than placing it on the countertop. You may not see much rising of the dough during this time, but that's okay.

  7. Place an empty metal {not glass, may shatter} broiler tray in the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat baking stone or pizza pan on the middle rack of the oven at 450 degrees F for 20-30 minutes. I recommend using an oven thermometer to double check your oven temp is correct.

  8. After the dough has rested, dust the top with flour, then slash a 1/2 inch deep cuts into the dough. Cuts can be made in a variety of patterns i.e. tic-tac-toe, cross, parallel. Leave the flour in place for baking; tap it off before eating.

  9. Slide the loaf off the peel onto the preheated stone or pan. Quickly and carefully pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake 30-35 minutes. If using parchment paper, remove paper after 20 minutes for a crisper bottom.

  10. The book notes that a perfectly baked loaf will "sing" or crackle when initially exposed to room-temperature air for cooling. Cool completely, up to two hours. Cut with a serrated knife and serve.