Master Boule Dough Recipe

A few weeks ago my husband and I were invited to a friend's house for dinner.  Dinner turned out to be one of my husbands favorite meals, (lucky Chuck) a real meat-and-potatoes kind of meal.  To top it all off, they made homemade bread.  It was so good I asked for the recipe, or was it Chuck that asked them to give me the recipe?  Hmm, funny, I don't quite remember;-).  Within the next couple of days the recipe showed up in my email inbox.  I love when that happens.  The day I made the recipe, I knew I was going to blog about it, but there was something familiar about the recipe - even the name.  So, I googled "Master Boule Recipe" and discovered why. At it turns out, this is the exact recipe from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day."  A book which I received as a Christmas present from my brother last year, but hadn't gotten around to trying the recipes yet.  It is ironic that I needed to taste the bread at a friend's house first, before I made the bread myself.  Now, I'm hooked and can't wait to hone my technique.  The brilliance of this recipe is even if it doesn't turn out exactly the way it's supposed to (if a batch doesn't live up to it's complete potential) - it's still great bread.

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Master Boule Dough Recipe (as listed on page 26, and on the website - see links above)
- makes four 1 pound loaves

3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour, measured with a scoop-and-sweep method
Cornmeal for the pizza peel

Instructions in my words:
1.  Warm water slightly in large container.  (Water temperature should be a maximum of 110 degrees, if it exceeds this temperature you will kill the yeast:-( and that is bad).  Add yeast, salt, and stir.  Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve.  

2.  Mix in the flour, kneading is unnecessary.  Mix until everything is uniformly moist without dry patches.  Cover and allow to rise, approximately 2 hours or until doubled.  (If you use cold water this rise time can double). Either way, longer rising times usually do not harm the result. 

Note: the pictures you see show a well of flour on a flat surface, with me pouring the wet ingredients inside the well, but due to the quantity of ingredients, next time I will definitely mix in a bowl!

3.  You can use a portion of dough anytime after this period.  However, if you can refridgerate for three hours the dough will be easier to work with (I didn't have the time; I wanted to serve some with dinner). Dough will keep in the refrigerator up to two weeks.  This is great for pizza dough, too. To bake refrigerated dough, sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour, pull up and cut off 1 lb of dough (about the size of a grapefruit, about 1 quarter of the dough).  

4.  Gently stretch the surface of the dough and round to the bottom on all four sides, rotating and dusting with flour as needed.  I believe this is called "chafing" which I learned how to do from "Ultimate Bread" when I learned how to make stromboli.

5.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees (preferably with a baking stone which this lucky girl received from a friend who handed hers down to me), place rimmed baking sheet anywhere else convenient into which you are able to pour water for steam.  In the mean time, rest loaf on greased sheet, cornmeal sprinkled stone, or cornmeal sprinkled pizza peel (which I also received from the aformentioned friend) and let rise 40 minutes.    

6.  Dust top of dough with flour and slash top with knife.  

7.  Place bread on middle rack, pour 1 cup water into the rimmed cookie sheet on the bottom rack and close door.  Bake 25-35 min., let sit a little before cutting into.  (I sacrificed some of my steam for this picutre:-)

We had slices with our soup that evening, and the next day I had my favorite breakfast: buttered toast with hard boiled eggs.


  1. Boule is my favorite. Wish I could eat it. There's a master boule maker in Denver. His bread is amazing. I could eat a whole loaf.


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