After taking three days to make the pure levain bread and having so much success with it, I decided to try another recipe from the book. The result? This crusty 1 1/2 pound boule is amazing. The crust is super flakey with multiple layers of crispiness.
The crumb is super moist and airy, and on the first or second day, is best eaten buttered or plain to really appreciate it. So good. After that, if you still have some left, it makes fabulous toast or grilled cheese.
This recipe makes 2 one and a half pound loaves. I haven't tried doing this, but I'm pretty sure you could cut the ingredients in half to make one loaf.
Unless you want to stay up late, get started by about noon. If you want this bread by dinner, get started around 9 a.m.
Nine Hour Crusty White Bread | The Saturday White Bread
Adapted from Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza.The book is worth buying. All of the steps are thoroughly illustrated and the results for the two formulas I have tried so far have been amazing.
- A large food grade bucket with the measurements on the outside.
- Large rubberband or tape to mark where the dough started.
- A kitchen scale. Essential.
- Dutch ovens for baking the bread. I used this Combo cooker and a 4 quart cast iron Dutch oven and I baked both loaves at the same time.
- Bannetons or proofing baskets that are about 9 inches across.
- Parchment paper.
1000 grams unbleached all purpose flour
720 grams of filtered water heated to 90 degrees F
21 g fine sea salt or table salt
4 g instant yeast
- Combine the flour and water in a large dough rising bucket. Ken Forkish recommends a 12 quart bucket. I used an 8 quart bucket, but the smaller circumference makes it difficult to do the folding that is required later. A large wide bowl is also good if you are a good judge as to when your dough has tripled in size.
- Mix the flour and water with your hands until the water and flour are incorporated. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes to let the flour absorb the water.
- Scatter the salt and yeast over the top of the dough and mix with your wet hands by alternatively stretching it and pinching it to fully incorporate the yeast and salt. This should take about five minutes. Cover with plastic wrap.
- After ten minutes of rest, fold the dough by picking up each "side," stretching it, and folding it over the middle. Re-cover. Fold the dough again after an hour.
- Let the dough rise for about five hours, until tripled.
- Generously flour 2 proofing baskets. You can also use a mixing bowl lined with a lint free kitchen towel that has been sprayed with oil and heavily floured.
- With a wet dough scraper or wet hands, loosen the dough from the sides of the bucket and gently turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into two even pieces.
- Shape the dough into boules, creating a taute skin over the top. Place the shaped dough into each basket, seam side down.
- Spray the top of the dough with spray oil, and cover with plastic wrap.
- Allow the loaves to rise about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until they are puffy. How to know if the loaves are ready? Here is Ken Forkish, the author, demonstrating the "finger dent test."
- About 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F with two empty covered Dutch ovens placed on the middle rack.
- When you are ready to bake, cut parchment into two 9 inch by 15+ inch pieces.
- Remove the Dutch ovens from the oven and remove the tops. One loaf at a time, place the parchment over the dough and place a plate over it. Flip the dough over, remove the basket, and lift and place the loaf in the Dutch oven by using the parchment as a sling (leave the paper under the dough). Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the hot oven. Repeat with the second loaf.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes, and then uncover it and bake it for 20 to 25 minutes more, until the interior of the bread reaches 205 to 210 degrees F and the bread is a deep brown. My loaves were ready sooner, so check early.
- Lift the loaves out of the Dutch ovens with the parchment and let them cool fully on a wire rack (remove the parchment from the bottom of the loaves).
Hint: If your loaves get too burnt on the bottom because of the heat from the cast iron, move the loaves to a sheet pan when you uncover them and continue baking on the sheet pan. I do that often.