Fresh Baked Boules
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 (1/4-ounce) packet fresh fast-acting yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water, between 100 and 115 degrees F, as measured with a candy thermometer (any hotter will kill the yeast - an organic leavener; too cool and the yeast won't be activated)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus some extra for kneading
- 1/4 cup melted butter
Dissolve salt, sugar, and yeast in the warm water and allow the yeast to proof. ("Proofing" the yeast is testing it for viability. It will develop a foam which looks like the head of a beer. If it doesn't proof, the yeast is dead and should be discarded.) Proofing takes about 15 minutes. Place flour in a food processor fitted with a dough blade, and through the feed tube with the food processor running, slowly pour the proofed yeast mixture, until the dough comes together and is a cohesive mass. Transfer the dough to a floured board, and knead for about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and allow dough to rise, so that it roughly doubles in volume. (This will take about 30 minutes to 1 hour). The dough has risen enough if you make an indentation with your finger and it does not spring back.) Punch the dough down and allow it to rise again. (Allowing the dough to rise a second time gives it a finer texture.) Note: It will not rise as much the second time.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Divide the dough in half, and transfer half to a floured board and keeping the balance covered with the towel. Shape the dough into a circle by pulling from the side and pushing the dough under and up from the bottom to form a dome, rotating to make it circular. Cover with a piece of oiled plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes. Repeat for each section of dough. Grease a round cake pan for each loaf and transfer dough to the pans. (This shape will keep the dough from flattening out while it bakes.) Brush with melted butter and bake until the crust is golden brown and crispy. When done, the bread should sound hollow when tapped, approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and serve warm or room temperature with butter.
2007, Robert Irvine, All Rights Reserved