The host for #Baketogether is baking maven Abby Dodge, the author of seven cookbooks, including her latest, Desserts 4 Today, The Weekend Baker and the Around the World Cookbook. She is a former pastry chef, a teacher, and lovely. Gracious and welcoming with an infectious smile.
Last week, she put up a post about the January #Baketogether project — Peasant Boule. I couldn’t resist. For me, there is something primal about baking bread. I’m drawn to the feel of the dough in my hands, transformed by the aroma of bread baking in my oven, and intensely happy when I pull that crusty loaf from the oven. After I read through Abby’s January 1 post and the recipe for a Peasant Boule, I decided to block out time over the weekend for baking. While I was reading Abby’s post, my daughter (The Bug) came into my office, and read the post over my shoulder. She turned to me and told me matter-of-factly that she was “in” too. So, #Baketogether took on two meanings in my household.
While Abby encourages participants to make recipes their own — add herbs or cheese or other flavors in this case — I took one look at her gorgeous round loaf with its deep, brown crust, and decided that our first go-around with this bread would be as she wrote the recipe.
As promised, the dough came together easily in the mixer — The Bug spearheaded the flour-weighing. Due to the rapid-rise yeast, the dough rose to great heights in under an hour. After the first rise, she prepared the baking pan.
Then, into the pan.
And, a brush with melted butter before its second rise.
A divine aroma filled the kitchen as it baked. Take a look at The Bug’s first loaf (actually, boule) of bread.
This buttery, but remarkably light loaf, tastes like the kind of bread that is served at a homey bakery (as it used to be). The crumb is whisper soft, making it a perfect delivery vehicle for jam or apple butter. And, it toasts beautifully (I had mine with almond butter). If it had lasted another day, I could probably tell you that it is well-suited to french toast, too.
We’ll make it again this winter. In the meantime, The Bug and I are looking forward to our next #Baketogether project. Abby’s recipe is below and you also can find it here.
|Abby Dodge’s Peasant Boule||
- 3 1/3 cups (15 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1 packet (1/4 ounce) instant yeast (Rapid Rise)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/3 cups very warm water (between 115 and 125 degrees)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- In a large bowl of electric stand mixer, whisk the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking powder. Clip the bowl into the mixer stand and fit the mixer with the dough hook.
- Check that the water temperature registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (In order for this type of yeast to grow, the liquid needs to be between 115 and 125 degrees.)
- With mixer on medium-low speed, slowly pour the water into the flour and mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bottom and sides of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Don’t venture too far away while it’s mixing as the mixer might dance around on the counter.
- Scoop up the dough and shape it into a ball. Lightly grease (using some of the melted butter or spray release) the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl and pop the dough, rounded side up, back into the bowl. Cover the top securely with plastic wrap. (I like to use a large rubber band to hold the plastic in place.) Let the covered dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Using some of the melted butter, generously butter an 8-inch round cake pan (we used a 9-inch springform pan, so our loaf was a little wider and not as tall as Abby’s). Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface (there’s no need to flour—the dough is soft but not sticky) and press to deflate it. Shape the dough into a 7-inch-wide round and place it, smooth side up, in the center of the prepared pan. Generously brush the top and sides with some of the melted butter. You may not need all the butter.
- Let the dough rise (no need to cover it) in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 25 minutes. It will fill the pan.
- About 15 minutes before the dough is ready to bake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and the oven to 375°F. When the dough has risen to about 2 inches above the edge of the pan, bake until the boule is well browned and sounds hollow when tapped about 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and tip the baked bread onto a rack and remove the pan. Set it right side up and let cool completely.