When you’re preparing to host a Christmas dinner in France, the choice of the bread(s) is as important as any course you will be serving. Usually each course gets accompanied by a different bread, each thoughfully paired with the food. Spice bread slices get toasted and served with foie gras. Dark breads such as rye or a viking banette get served with smoked salmon and seafood. Simple baguettes or rustic baguettes (such as traditon, festival or a meule de pierre) usually get served with the main dish.
Finally, the cheese platter (always served before dessert) has guests tear into more rustic styles, such as a moisson and crunchy loaves filled with nuts, seeds or dried fruits – or all of these. And today’s recipe is for one of these rustic breads that is perfect to accompany a cheese board.
This No-Knead Dutch-Oven Nutty Boule is so easy to make (no-kneading!) and versatile – it goes with any of the nuts, seeds or dried fruits of your choosing!
Its making is pretty unconventional (again, no-kneading!), but the taste is as good as a French bakery’s rustic loaf. It makes it a great recipe for novice bakers or anyone who is usually frightened by the mere thought of making bread at home.
It is a perfectly balanced French-style boule, with a crunchy crust and soft crumb. The nuts and seeds add extra texture and earthy-fruity notes, which pairs perfectly with any kind of cheese.
- Using a Dutch-Oven for this recipe is a must. The lid traps all the moisture (hence steam) inside which creates the extra-crunchy brown crust.
- This is a no-knead bread (yes, no mixer!), but the dough takes up to 18 hours to rise so this is a great recipe to start 1 day ahead of time. This long resting time creates natural fermentation within the dough, which makes the crumb incredibly fragrant. The dough should rest at room temperature, and you’ll know it is finished rising when it has doubled in size and has a foamy-looking top.
- This is a versatile bread. I have used a mix of walnuts, pistachios and sunflower seeds (because this is what I had on hand). But you can use any nut seeds you want (pecans or hazelnuts will work great) and add dried fruits too (dried cramberries, raisons and dried figs will work great). Basically, all the varieties of nuts and dried fruits you would usually find on a cheese platter.
If you try this No-Knead Dutch-Oven Nutty Boule, let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo on Instagram tagging @pardonyourfrench or using #pardonyourfrench. I’d love to see what you come up with.
No-Knead Dutch-Oven Nutty BoulePrint This
3 cups + 2 Tablespoons (390g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (or table salt)
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 Tablespoon honey
1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (about 95°F (35°C))
125g nuts, seeds and/or dried fruits (of your choosing, I used a combination of walnuts, pistachios and sunflower seeds)
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sea salt, yeast, water and honey.
Stir in the nuts, seeds and/or dried fruits. Roughly mix with your hands until all the ingredients come together and shape into a rough ball. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, leave on a countertop at room temperature, and allow to rise for 12-18 hours. The dough will double in size, stick to the sides of the bowl, and be covered in air bubbles.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using lightly floured hands, shape into a ball as best you can (it WILL be a bit sticky). Transfer the ball dough to a large piece of parchment paper. (Large enough to fit inside your dutch-oven – like the parchment you see inside the dutch oven on the photos).
Using a very sharp knife (or a baker’s razor blade), score an X into the top of the ball. Cover dough with a kitchen cloth and set aside for 30 minutes
During this 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 475°F. Place the dutch oven with its lid inside (so it is very hot once the dough is palced into it). After 30 minutes, carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven and place the dough inside (with the parchment paper). Cover with the lid and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue baking for 10 minutes, until the bread is golden.
Remove the Boule from the pot immediately, and allow to rest on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.
This recipe is adapted from Red Star Yeast.