Traditions

Artisan Free-Form French Boule (rosemary)

Here is the secret to that chewy crusty french loaves you spend $7 or more in fine bakeries. Add different ingredients to the base. This recipe Ive made as shown is one of my favorites, rosemary. First time making in the electric oven at The Inn. Im pretty pleased. Hope you enjoy.

Chewy, crusty, warm, hot out of oven, goodness

Ingredients

  • 6.5 c bread flour
  • 3 c hot tap water
  • 1 c hot tap water (oven steam bath)
  • 1.5 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Rosemary(optional)
  • Bakers stone, lipped cookie sheet and lip-less cookie sheet
  • 1 cup cornmeal

Im a bread machine lover- I don’t have full mobility of one arm so dough kneading is truly a task I struggle with. So Im gonna leave the bread kneading to you. You can use the dough setting on the bread machine, A dough hook with you Kitchen aide, or the glorious old fashion- dig in and mix it well by hand. Its a big batch so can rise over you bread machine well. Im use to cleaning that mess. Do not bake this recipe in your 5-7 cup bread machine. Only dough. This is a simple ingredient bread and the technique is the success. You have to steam these loaves for that amazing crust finish.

Add 2 c hot tap water salt and yeast to your large mixing bowl. Stir to incorporate but you don’t need yeast fully dissolved. Add rosemary then flour. Dough hook or mix until a smooth dough forms. Allow to rise in quiet warm setting lightly towel covered 1 hour. Now I use dough setting on my machine. Easy.

(Prep) Large lip-less cookie sheet cover with cornmeal for dough to rest after you form into loaves. Set aside. On floured surface – take dough and divide into four (4)- grapefruit sized portions. With floured hands and surface – take dough and round tucking dough under until you form an smooth round loaf. See pic. Place on top of corn meal to rest. Repeat for all 4 doughs. ( you can cover and refrigerate loaves 24 hours. )

Sticky and warm ready
for forming
Cornmeal for slide and dough to rest on
Divide floured dough to 4 parts and start to form tucking under in circular motion
Resting whilewaiting oven to heat 450 degrees
The most key step- lipped cookie sheet on bottom rack for steam bath. Hot stone above. Allow them to heat in oven as oven heats. I used my pizza peel but this was almost too small for this 4 loaf batch. next time Ill use my larger full sized sheet pan stone -invest in a stone. Mine have all been pampered Chef. Ive had for years- worth while investment. You can bake this on a cookie sheet but will not turn out as crusty.

While loaves rest on cornmeal. Heat oven with lipped cookie sheet on bottom rack and stone on middle rack. with serated flour knife- gently slice three scores on loaf tops. Just before they go in oven. Maybe 1/2 inch thick. Very satisfying to see loaves respond beautifully I wish I had video’d.

Get 1 cup hot tap water ready. This goes quick. once oven is hot hot- you want to slide loaves carefully onto stone -remember very hot.- the cornmeal allows this to move with ease. A pizza peel you can quick wrist slide. Add hot water to bottom pan fast fast – steams hot!! Close oven door fast. You want steam to be in oven. Its making that crunchy chewy crust we love. Don’t peek! Bake 25 minutes.

So easy! Be creative with your base. I personally love the flavors rosemary brings. You can leave plain, add roasted garlic, olives, Italian herbs, sprinkle w sea-salt flakes, poppy seeds. Sesame… yum. great gifts. Will freeze but shelf life is short- only 2 days. Store in paper bag or wax paper. So eat it up! You will never buy $7 bakery loaves again. You’re welcome❤️

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