Oh my goodness I love this bread.
Boule means ‘ball’ in French, it is a free-form artisan loaf and it is si délicieux!
In 2006 Mark Bittman wrote about Jim Lahey’s no-knead Boule artisan bread in the New York Times. It was a hit. It still IS! Since then there have been quite a few other no-knead recipes and recipe books out, but of all those that I have tried in the last couple years I come back to this one. It’s just right. Crunchy exterior, chewed interior, and the recipe is pretty much fool proof…made in your regular oven. No brick wood burning oven necessary. The keys include the minimal amount of yeast and a piping hot covered pot.
And just 4 ingredients:
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 and 1/2 cup water
1. Mix all four ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon until ‘shaggy’.
You can just cover it at this point (plastic wrap is fine) or olive oil a second bowl and transfer the dough into it.
Keep this on your counter ideally between 65-72 degree, letting it rest (it’s fermenting) for 12-24 hours.
2. Remove the dough from the bowl and fold once or twice. Let the dough rest 15 minutes in the bowl or on the work surface.
Next, shape the dough into ball, pinched together on top.
Generously coat a cotton towel with flour (or wheat bran, or cornmeal); place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour.
Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 500°F and place a 6 to 8 quart pot with lid (Pyrex glass, Le Creuset cast iron, or ceramic is suggested, I use stoneware) in the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking to preheat.
Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot seam side up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes.
Then remove the lid and bake 15 minutes uncovered until the loaf is nicely browned.
I have found with my oven I need to reduce the heat to 450 degrees when I uncover it or the top burns more than I like.
Remove and let cool…at least a little bit!
Oh ya baby.
*I have had equally desirable results with 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2 cups white.
*For shorter 3-4 hour rise time, add 1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar to the water warmed to 100-110 degrees.