Artisan Free Form Boule

 

I’ve been co-habitating with my partner for over a year now, and during this time, have learned a lot of things about myself. Like, that a super cluttered house makes me feel a little crazy (I never knew this, since I don’t have, or tend to collect, “stuff”) and that I think that sleeping in the middle of the bed is way better than being contained to just one side.

 

It turns out that my 50’s-housewife-Betty-Crocker-let’s-push-food-on-people thing isn’t just a novelty, either. I’ve always been into feeding people, pushing food when they’re maybe not super hungry, etc., but I’d always sort of assumed that was just something I did when people came over; turns out, not so much.

 

My latest iteration of this food-pushing habit is that I’ve started making Brandon’s “lunches.” Not infrequently, he’s required to work the overnight shift at his hospital. Of course, it’s not his favorite time to be at work, and I always feel a little badly watching him head out the door at 945pm to start his workday.

 

Since I know that food makes everything better, I started making his lunches. And, since food equals love, it’s morphed into lunches featuring meat (which I don’t eat but apparently am willing to buy), homemade breads, and homemade condiments (I know mayonnaise is kinda freaky, but homemade mayonnaise is a whole other story!). I figured that since his overnights shifts are scheduled sporadically, I needed the easiest bread recipe, ever. While my other no-knead is incredibly simple, this one is even less time-consuming. Resulting a happy Strudel Crocker (that’s me!) and partner with a homemade hope-this-makes-your-night-better lunch.

 

 

This recipe comes from the book, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. But, it came to me by way of my dad, and it’s possible he tweaked it a bit. I tweaked it a tiny bit more.

 

I mix the dough directly in the container. My container is a bit big, but it works

 

 

 

The ingredients are super simple: flour, yeast, salt, water

 

 

 

Mix ’em up, and let them sit to out for a few hours

 

 

 

Once it’s sat for about 2 hours, it can either be baked or refrigerated.

 

Here’s the part where I should have photos that show the dough formed into a ball, etc. Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph that part. I got focused on the outcome. Which, happily, looks like this:

 

 

 

Artisan Free Form Boule

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Adapted from my dad, who adapted it from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Hertzberg and Francois

Time: About 10 minutes to make the dough plus 2-3 hour rising

Makes four 1 lb. loaves (says the recipe, but it’s more like three loaves max)

 

 

3 cups lukewarm water

1 ½ tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt (if using table salt, use only 1 tablespoon)

6 ½ cups unsifted unbleached all-purpose white flour (845 gms)

 

1. MIX DOUGH AND LET SIT: In a large bowl combine water, yeast, salt and flour. Mix well until it forms a sticky batter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a loose-fitting top. Let dough rest at room temperature until it doubles in volume, about 2-3 hours.

The dough can be used right away, but it’s easier to handle if it’s refrigerated for at least a few hours.

 

2. SHAPE INTO BALL & REST FOR 40 MINUTES: Get a grapefruit size ball of the refrigerated dough. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around the bottom of the ball on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. This should take 30-60 seconds. (You’ll need to flour your hands and your work surface as you do this since the dough is very sticky.)

 

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rest for about 40 minutes hours.

 

3. HEAT POT TO 450: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

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