Thursday, November 25, 2004

thanksgiving for: the best boule ever

let's see, the very first batch of bread i ever made was that batter bread recipe in the old joy of cooking. i was about 14.

and i've made a lot of bread since then, a lot of supposedly french bread. i like more crumb than crust, so i usually make boule, not baguette.

i couldn't tell you how many recipes i've been through. . .i loved julia child, but her bread recipe was a ridiculously complex, over-wordy, and still far-from-the-mark-on-
house nightmare; elizabeth david's; beth hensperger's; r. l-b's; laurel's; the old tassajara's; even r. calvel's, which i couldn't figure out quite how to mix quite properly. oh, the list could go on and on.

so without further ado, lemme say that the best boule ever came to me today thanks to j. hamelman's recipe in his bread, baguette with poolish. this bread has a perfect crispy, thin crust; tastes sweet altho' it has no sugar; soft, open, creamy, can't-stop-eating crumb; tremendous oven spring; each 1.5 lb loaf feels feather-light.

it's rather similar to calvel's recipe, but scaled for home. it's hardly the most complicated recipe; in fact, it's pretty simple, not mindlessly so, but not advanced at all.

and i think the secret is in the mixing instructions: do the first mix at speed 2 on a kitchenaid stand mixer for 2-1/2 mins; then switch to the dough hook at speed 4(!) for 4 mins.; and fold the dough twice during the 2-hour rise.

yes, speed 4 -- your mixer will take a gentle vibratory stroll across the counter unless you're alert! so watch it lest it wander off the counter.

i used the king arthur artisan organic unbleached flour, which has just 11.3% protein. i kept saying to myself, this dough is too tacky, this is never going to work -- but work it did and wonderfully so.

if you bake bread, or wanna, you'll love hamelman's book and how!

posted by fortune | 2:21 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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