Herbed Boule Bread


This was my attempt at recreating the bread I adore that The Chancery serves with their artichoke dip. The Grand Central Pastry Puff was good with the artichoke but not the same.

This was also my first time attempting bread other than dessert bread or non-dessert bread made in a bread machine. I was delighted to find a recipe for Boule (French for “ball”) bread that is actually rather easy to make. Its ingredients are simple, and no-kneading is required. Apparently for bread makers this is a pretty big deal.

I added herbs to the basic dough mix to replicate the Boule bread The Chancery serves. The basic recipe is great because you can make the dough on Sunday which will allow you to make a few fresh loaves of bread all week long. And you’ll want to keep baking because the bread does not last very long.

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I only baked my bread for roughly 20 minutes in an attempt to recreate the Boule bread served at The Chancery. And this recipe was pretty close. The flavor of the bread was great. My only complaint is that the bread was a bit flat. I would have liked to have it more round, or ball-like.

Luckily I have more dough in the fridge. Hopefully by the time I’m done with the dough I’ll have perfected the shape of the bread!

Recipe rating: 

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. lukewarm water
  • 32 oz. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 1/2 T. instant yeast
  • 1/2 c. fresh chopped parsley (or 1/4 c. dried parsley)
  • 1/2 T. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme

Directions:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don’t have a mixer, just stir with a big wooden spoon or dough whisk till everything is combined.
  • Let the dough rise. If you made the dough in a bowl that’s not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl. Grease the bowl; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it’s time to bake bread.
  • Cover the bowl with saran wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours.  You can let the dough refrigerate for up to about 7 days. The longer the dough stays in the fridge, the tangier it will get. If you want sourdough-like bread, chill it for 7 days. Don’t worry if you see the dough rise and fall over the first day or so. It’s supposed to do that.
  • When you’re ready to make some bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour so it’s easier to grab. Grease your hands, and pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough. It will be about the size of a grapefruit.
  • Place the dough onto a floured work surface, and round it into a ball.
  • Place the dough on a piece of parchment (if you’re going to use a baking stone); or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top.
  • Let the dough rise for about 60 minutes. It won’t rise upwards that much; it will settle and expand. Preheat your oven (and baking stone, if you’re using one) to 450°F while the dough rests. Place a shallow metal or cast iron pan (not glass or ceramic) on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.
  • When you’re ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2″ deep. The bread may deflate a bit.
  • Place the bread in the oven, and carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. Close the oven door quickly.
  • Bake the bread for 25 minutes, or until it’s a deep, golden brown.
  • Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
  • Makes 3 or 4 loaves.

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