Boule, from the French for “ball”, is a traditional shape of French bread, resembling a squashed ball. It is a rustic loaf shape that can be made of any type of flour. A boule can be leavened with commercial yeast, chemical leavening, or even wild yeast sourdough. The name of this bread is the reason a bread baker is referred to as a “boulanger” in French, and a bread bakery a “boulangerie.” Boule (bread) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
My Favorite French Bread recipe (formed in Boule shape)
- 6-1/2 cups of wheat – plus a small amount of flour to dust bread board) *if you grind your own wheat, you will need to add a Tablespoon of wheat gluten to get a better rise.
- 2 Tablespoon yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch) plus 4 more cups of water for the bottom of the oven in a metal pan to “steam while cooking
- 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
- Optional toppings: see below
- In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (OR instead, use 1 cup sour dough starter instead of the yeast mixture plus 1-1/2 cup of water – Sourdough starter recipe here)
- In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.
- Slowly stir in yeast mixture(or sour dough starter plus water) into flour with wooden spoon.
- Blend well until dough forms.
- Place dough ball in clean bowl.
- Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for 1 hour.
- Divide the dough in half and roll out to form either a boule shape (round) or a baguette (long and skinny) and let rise again for 1 hour.
- Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. (I have always done this… I think that it is just decorative.)
- (OPTIONAL – you can sprinkle with cheese or garlic, fresh or dried herbs before baking… (I have 3 kids who LOVE cheese and fresh jalapenos or garlic saon their bread)
- Place dough in oven and pour 4 cups of water in a metal pan in the bottom of heated oven… this gives a crunchy outside layer.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.