Bread – Plain French Boule & Rye

Posted on November 30, 2012


Technically speaking, this is not a sweet recipe.  Make it into french toast or something.  This makes two loafs, you can make them the same, or I made one rye (with no caraway, I’m not a fan or seeds in my bread – California is on notice about this).

Get started the night before you want to make bread.  (Or like 10 hours before)

1.0 Bread Starter (Poole/Sponge)

  • 250 grams  _________________ Flour (all purpose, ~2 Cups)
  • 2 Cups____________________ Water (filter it if your water is heavily chlorinated)
  • 12 tsp _________________ Yeast (Instant dry yeast – which we keep in the freezer, if using active dry yeast use a bit more)
  • Measure the flour
  • Warm the water slightly, so that it isn’t chilled.  This actually depends on the timing you want – if you want it to go quickly, warm the water to around 110^o F – no hotter or you kill the yeast.
  • Mix the yeast into the water, and then the water into the flour.
  • Mix well – so no dry flour remains.  It will be a really goopey mess, that’s good.
  • Store in a covered plastic container (I store it in a plastic bowl, with plastic wrap on top, and a towel over it).
  • Check it after 10 hours.  It should be bubbly and puffy.
  • If it has fallen already, smell it, and if it smells really awful throw it out and go buy a loaf somewhere else.

1.0 Bread Boule

  • 125 grams  _________________ Flour (all purpose, ~1 Cup)
  • 125 grams  _________________ Flour (bread flour, ~1 Cup) (if you don’t have this, just use AP, it will be fine)
  • 12 Cup ____________________ Water (filter it if your water is heavily chlorinated)
  • 14 tsp _________________ Olive Oil
  • 14 tsp _________________ Yeast (Instant dry yeast – which we keep in the freezer)
  • 12 tsp _________________ Salt (Kosher)
  • 12   _________________ The starter mixture
  • olive oil – for the bowl
  • Measure the flours
  • Mix the salt  and yeast into the flour
  • Mix the olive oil into the water (don’t try too hard) then mix the water into the flour mixture.
  • Mix in half of the batch of starter you made.  This takes some serious mixing.  Make sure there are no dry spots left and that the starter is well combined with the flour mixture.
  • Flour a work surface (I use a cutting board to cut down on cleanup).
  • Knead the bread (it will be sticky, but that’s good) for at least 5 minutes.  Knead by rolling the bread over on itself with your fingers, folding it, and working it into the board.
  • Check to see how it’s doing by taking a small piece and stretching it out between your fingers, if it holds its shape and stretches thin enough that you can see light through it, you’re done kneading.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Leave for 2 hours in a sort of warm place.  Check after the first hour, if it’s doubled in size at that point, you can go ahead, but it will be better if you wait
  • WAIT
  • Now that you’ve waited.
  • Scoop the dough out onto a floured surface (using a dough scrapper or spatula).  Punch it down lightly.
  • Shape into a ball, rolling it around to tighten a skin on the top. (If you want an oblong loaf, you can stretch the ball out a little).
  • Flour a clean tea towel, and place it on a cookie sheet with no edge, so you can slide it onto a pizza stone.  (or you can cook it on the sheet, or in a round oven safe pan/pot).
  • Fold the towel over the bread, and let it proof (sit in a warmish place) for 30 minutes, or up to an hour.  Don’t let it get too big and puffy, or it will collapse.
  • Pre-Heat the oven to 500° F while you wait for the dough to proof.
  • Once proofed, cut a pattern in the top with a razor or exacto knife.  (Slashes, or tic-tac-toe board shape work fine)
  • Let the bread sit for another minute or two – but not too long once you’ve cut the top.
  • Slide it into the oven, onto the baking stone.
  • Using a spray bottle filled with water to – spray a few bursts into the oven.
  • Immediately drop the temperature to 450° F
  • Bake for 5 minutes, and spritz again.
  • Bake for another 5 minutes, spritz again.
  • Bake for another 5 minutes, then drop the temperature to 400° F
  • Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Raise the temperature to 450° F and spritz in the oven.
  • Bake for another 10-15 minutes (keep an eye on the crust)
  • Remove from oven, and rest for at least half an hour.
  • You can tell its done if it sounds hollow when you tap it.

To make rye bread, follow the same procedure, using rye flour instead of the bread flour and all-purpose flour.

Shape into a loaf shape by making a ball, then pulling it into a snake.

Posted in: Recipe