I was looking for a bread recipe for a while and it just so happened, that while watching a cooking show, yes you heard right, cooking show, I came across this one on French Cooking At Home, with Laura Calder. It’s a very straight forward recipe that anyone, and I mean anyone with even a small interest in cooking or even a small amount of culinary prowess can pull off without a hitch if he or she follows the recipe with no alterations or deviations the first time around. The name “Miracle Boule”, apparently got its name from the fact that with so little going on with the recipe, it is a miracle that the recipe actually works and the bread actually rises. Alright with that said here is the recipe and technique.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour (unsifted)
1 1/2 cups of water (I used tap)
1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt (I use kosher)
Combine the dry ingredients first in a mixing bowl and then add the water and stir the ingredients together till they come together. The batter or dough! will be a very sticky and unusually messy mix, that looks like there is no way this will be bread. However, believe me it will. Cover the bowl with a tea towel (kitchen towel), and allow to rest for up to 12-24 hours. (The dough will double in size.) I know that it’s a long time for it to rest, but hey, I didn’t make this up. (Trust me there is a reason for this madness.) Once the bread dough has rested it will have formed tiny air bubbles and nooks and cranny’s and pockets. That is what you want and it is an indication that the yeast has done its job. Now using a clean tea towel (same one you covered the bowl with), pour about a half to one cup of flour on to the opened and flattened tea towel, making sure to spread enough of the flour to coat an area the size of the bread boule (ball) you will form just before placing it onto it. Now flour a small area of the counter or work surface, with about 1/2 cup of flour and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Coat the outside of the dough with the flour and fold it over once. Once coated, lift and shape the dough into a ball. The surface of the dough should be covered with enough dough to prevent it from sticking to your hands and tea towel. Place the dough ball onto the flour coated tea towel. Fold over the edges of the tea towel so they over lap (all 4 corner). Set the bread dough aside on a warm counter and allow the dough to rest for an additional 2 hours. One half hour before you bake the dough, turn your oven on and set it to (gas mark) 450 degrees. Place your baking pot: a cast iron cocotte, like a Le Creuset or other brand dutch oven, into the oven and allow it to heat up and come to temperature. After 30 minutes, remove the pot from the oven carefully, and turn the dough out into it and giving the pot a shake to even the dough inside the pot gently, cover the pot and return to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes till the bread is golden brown and crispy. Remove the bread from the pot and set it onto a counter or cutting board and allow it to rest. There you have it, home made easy baked bread. Enjoy!