Posted by: Josey Lyne Payne, Esq. | June 24, 2011

The Master Recipe: Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf)

I’m part of a cookbook club and in order to fill my commitment (ie. buy 3 cookbooks in 2 years) I had one purchase left to make.  I chose Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which has been coined “the discovery that revolutionizes home baking”.  We shall see.  The book works on the premise that there is a “secret” to baking artisan bread in five minutes a day, that secret being:  refrigerating pre-mixed homemade dough.  Pre-mixed, pre-risen, high-moisture dough to be exact, the “linchpin” of the whole operation.

Supposedly, anyone can do this; anyone with a fridge, some flour, yeast, salt, water and a jar to keep it all in that is.  The book boasts that one does not need to make fresh dough every day to have fresh bread every day – well who can argue with that?  Second, one does not need a “sponge” or “starter” – those can get scary, trust me.  Third, it matters not how one mixes the ingredients as long as the dry are no longer dry and the wet are no longer wet, but there is one homogenous mass of very wet dough.  Next, one does not need to “proof” the yeast as the storage method used in this approach allows for adequate fermentation without proofing.  Next, kneading is not necessary – seriously?  Finally, because the dough is high moisture it cannot over-rise accidentally.

It all begins with a master recipe, which the book advises makes four – yes four! – 1-pound loaves.

The Master Recipe:  Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf)

Ingredients
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast (2 packets)
6 1/2 cups flour

Directions
Add yeast and salt to the lukewarm water.
Add all of the flour at once and mix until the mixture is uniform. (I used my kitchen aid and dough hook here)
Place the dough into a 5 quart container that has a lid (not airtight), and cover.
Allow to rise at room temperature for approximately 2 hours (until it begins to collapse).
After the rising refrigerate the dough.

Update coming tomorrow when we bake our first boule!

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