April 19, 2010

Morning Walk - Evening Boule

Sunday morning was glorious. I woke up with the sunrise and we took the Bread Baker's Dog on a walk by the Laguna. The morning mist was rising off of the shallows, a grebe's wake was perfectly reflected in the still water and a pair of ducks waddled together across a baseball field whose verdant grass was dense with dew. It felt good to be with my Sweetie and dog...good to be alive on such a beautiful day. Here is a photo of Xam on the walk. His birthday is this month and he is 15 years old but still takes a long walk every day and seems to highly enjoy it.

The day before we walked I fed my sourdough starter and made a fairly simple boule to go with our dinner pasta.My original plan had been to shape the dough into a long torpedo shaped loaf but, once shaped, I had covered it with plastic wrap to rise. Thought that the wrap was oiled, but apparently the oiled side was up, so in peeling it off I lost the shape. Not wanting to wait for it to rise again, I just shaped it into a ball, tucked the ends under and baked it. Julia Child would have approved I think.

This boule had simple ingredients: white and whole wheat flour, salt, water, sourdough starter and a little olive oil. It was fine grained, with a moist crumb and mild sour flavor.

Had a slice toasted this morning as we waited for the fellow to come and measure for our new shower pan. I liked that the toasting brought out the crunch of the crust. I started the loaf in a 450 degree F oven and added a pie pan of water right at the beginning of baking...some even spilled on the bottom of the oven. The steam helped create an nice crisp crust with a little crackle to it.

I'm sending this over to Susan at Wild Yeast for her weekly Yeastspotting event. It is a treasure trove of great recipes using yeast and yeasted items. Check it out!

Simple Sourdough Boule
makes 1 loaf

1 cup 100% hydration sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups unbleached white bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
enough extra bread flour to make a slightly tacky dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer equiped with a dough hook, mix the starter, water and olive oil. In a large bowl whisk together the flours and salt.

With machine running on low, add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture, letting the dough climb the dough hook. Add enough additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, as needed, to create a soft, slightly tacky dough.

Turn out onto a lightly flour surface and knead for a minute or two to make sure dough is well combined. Form into a ball.

Place ball in lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2-3 hours, longer if your house is cool.

You can also let the dough rise for an hour or so and then let it stay overnight in the fridge, then continue the rise in the morning in a warm, draft free place. This will intensify the flavors of the grains and sourdough.

Punch dough down and shape into a ball, tucking ends under. Place on parchment or a silicon mat and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Paint the surface of the ball lightly with egg wash and slash in a few places...I make three slashed across the top...then place in a preheated 450 degrees F oven. If you have a pizza or bread stone, make sure that you have preheated that as well as the oven. Place a pan of water on the lower shelf or bottom of the oven. Splash a bit out if you want more steam. Let bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake another 40 - 45 minutes or until boule is golden brown and, when turned over and tapped, gives off a hollow sound.

Cool, right side up, at least 15 minutes, then slice and serve warm or at room temperature. Great toasted, too!

Have to give equal time to our wonderful cat Merlin. Here is creates the perfect scene with spring tulips and a garden hose.


  1. Nice!! Beautifully golden crust.

  2. Crackle ... that sounds right ... alters the dog too ;0)
    Love the sound of the morning walk and evening boule ... what we need more of in life.
    The cat and tulips is perfect.
    I left you an award on my blog, if you are in the mood.

  3. Lovely post. It's the simple things that make a difference. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Nice to see you writing. I was missing your posts. Beautiful bread. I am inspired to go feed my started.

  5. Great looking bread. Your dog looks wonderful for 15 too! It must be all that walking and fresh air.


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