Beautiful (21-hour) Boule!
What could be more heavenly to serve with pasta, soup, bean spread or to use as base for your favorite sandwich toppings than a warm, homemade French Boule? And while yes, this recipe really does take 21 hours to make, I promise you'll only be actively busy for about 15 minutes of that time. And once that time is up, you'll enjoy a wonderful, crusty-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside artisan bread that is better than the bread served in most restaurants! Served warm with Miyoko's Vegan Butter - this is a real treat!
3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cup water, with up to 2 T additional, if needed
In a medium glass bowl, combine the flour, vital wheat gluten, yeast and salt and stir until well-mixed. Add the water and stir until well blended. The dough should be wet and sticky. If it needs more water, add up to two more Tablespoons. Cover the bowl and let rest in a warm spot (70F) for 18 hours.
After 18 hours, the dough will have doubled and will have small bubbles on its surface. Using a flour-coated spatula or dough scraper, nudge the dough out of the bowl and on to a lightly -floured surface. Coat your hands with flour and pat the dough into a large disk. Begin to gently pull out the sides of the dough and fold them back in, turning the dough 90 degrees every turn. Do this 4-5 times. Keep your hands floured. When the pulling and turning is done, pat the dough into a ball.
Line a medium bowl with a lint-free tea-towel. Generously flour the tea-towel and gently put the ball of dough into it, seam side down. Dust the dough with more flour and cover with another tea towel. Let the dough ball rise for 2 hours.
About 30 minutes before the end of the second rise, put a lidded 6 to 8 quart dutch oven into the oven and preheat the oven to 475F.
Once the oven has been preheated for 30 minutes, carefully remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid. Remove the top tea towel from the dough and lift the dough by the remaining tea towel and roll into the heated pot. If the towel sticks, dampened fingers can help gently pull the towel away.
Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more or until the boule is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. If the boule is already brown when you remove the lid, gently lay a piece of foil across the pot for the last 15 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board, slice and serve. Enjoy!