Now that you’ve managed to make and maintain your own liquid sourdough starter, you’re ready to make this Classic French Boule Bread in your Dutch-Oven. A French staple!
The “Boule” ( French word for “ball”) is a traditional shape of French bread, resembling a squashed ball. This loaf shape is so traditional that it is the reason why a bread baker is referred to as a “boulanger” in French, and a bread bakery a “boulangerie”. So, when it comes to bread, we can’t really get more authentic than this, can we?
This amazing recipe is from The Larousse Book of Bread by Eric Kayser. As I have mentioned in my previous post, Eric Kayser, the superstar French baker, has built his fame on his incredible baguettes, boules, ciabatta, croissants and buns – for the most part made “au levain” (meaning, with a starter). And this French boule bread “au levain” is one his classics.
If you’re new to bread-making using a sourdough starter, or if you’re just craving a simple, delicious, authentic French boule bread, this recipe is for you!
Simply put, this boule was one of the best breads I have ever made!
It looks so good (right?) and it tastes amazing. The crust is golden and crunchy, the crumb has a beautiful creamy color with big bubbles.
The taste is perfectly balanced. Because it is made with white flour, this bread is so versatile and can be enjoyed and paired in pretty much any way you want. And the use of liquid sourdough starter adds so much flavor to it, but without too much “sourness”.
- I did not use a stand mixer to make this recipe – which was a bit of an arm work-out (but fun arm-work!). This recipe can be done with a stand mixer too, so I am giving you here the instructions for both options.
- The use of a cast-iron is ideal for a French Boule Bread. It gives the loaf that perfectly round shape, with a super crispy crust!
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram.
Classic French Boule Bread in Dutch-OvenPrint This
500g of white flour (T65)
250g warm water
100g liquid sourdough starter
2g dry yeast
If using a stand mixer – In the mixing bowl, with the kneading attachment on, add the flour, water, liquid starter, dry yeast and salt. Mix all the ingredients together during 4 minutes on low-speed. Then continue mixing, on medium-speed, for 6 minutes.
If doing by hand – Place the flour on your working surface and dig a well in the middle. Pour-in half of the water, the liquid starter, the dry yeast and the salt. Start mixing by hand until the ingredients come roughly together. Add the rest of the water and keep mixing until the dough comes into a smooth ball.
Cover your dough with a floured cloth and let it rise at room temperature for 1h1/2 minimum, (until it doubles in size).
Transfer your dough on a floured working surface. Punch down your dough and fold it back into a ball. Make slits across the dough, cutting ⅛ inch deep and sprinkle the ball with flour or cornmeal. Cover your dough with a cloth and let it rise again for 2 hours.
Half an hour before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C. Put a 2-liter cast-iron pot or Dutch-oven inside to heat.
When the dough is ready, remove the pot from the oven and turn the dough into it. Shake the pot to settle the bread evenly. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake until the loaf is nicely browned, another 15 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Depending on temperature, humidity and altitude, you may have to add slightly more water to get the right consistency in your dough. Well wrapped in a cloth, the french Boule keeps for up to 3 days.