February 26, 2012

Crusty French (Fallen) Boules

*Sigh* There's always something disappointing about a bread that doesn't reach pure perfection, especially one that is in the works for a few days.

This Cooking Light bread is delicious. Perfect crunchy crust. Wonderful flavor. The only thing lacking is probably the intended texture, as my loaves fell flat when I sliced them. At least it still tastes amazing.

Crusty French Boules
Pate Fermentee
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water (betwen 100ºF to 110ºF)
3/4 cup water (between 100ºF to 110ºF)
1 tsp. active dry yeast
2 cups flour
3/4 cup bread flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cornmeal

To prepare the pate fermentee, combine 1 cup flour, yeast and salt together. Add water, and beat on low until mixture is thoroughly combined. Add remaining flour, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until dough just pulls away from sides of bowl. Beat 2 additional minutes on medium speed. Place dough into a greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 48 to 72 hours.

Remove pate fermentee from refrigerator, and let stand 30 minutes. Place 3/4 cup water in a bowl, and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand 5 minutes or until yeast begins to bubble. Add pate fermentee, and let stand 10 minutes. Add flour and salt. Beat on low speed until flour is incorporated. Beat on medium 6 minutes or  until dough forms ball.

Place dough in greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough, and shape into two round loaves. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450ºF, and place a small oven-proof dish filled with water on the bottom rack. Spray loaves with water, and make a tic-tac-toe pattern on the loaves with a sharp knife. Bake 10 minutes, and remove dish with water. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until bread is golden and sounds hollow. Cool completely on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.

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