Sunday, January 22, 2012

Peasant Boule

A few months ago, Abby Dodge started a monthly baking group by the hashtag #BakeTogether where Abby picks the recipe. Everyone is allowed to make tweaks and make the recipe their own. When I saw the beautiful open crumb of the Peasant Boule on Abby Dodge's website, I knew I had to make it. After I read through the recipe and learned that this bread contains yeast as well as baking powder, I was very intrigued. Abby stated that the baking powder addition makes for a very soft bread. That's what sealed the deal :o)

Peasant Boule brushed with melted butter
If you're a big Abby Dodge fan, like I am, you might be interested in joining the Avid Baker's Challenge (ABC) baking group. We bake once a month and for the year 2012, we're baking from The Weekend Baker. You can find more information about ABC here.

Having baked multi-grain breads in the last few months, I felt I should substitute some of the white flour in this recipe with whole wheat flour and flax seed meal. And so I went with a 50%-50% ratio which worked really well without making the bread heavy and dense. Half of the dough went into a round 6" cake pan and the other half went into a loaf pan.

The dough rose about 2" above the 6" cake pan's rim

After it came out of the oven

The other half of the dough rolled into a loaf pan
Sandwich loaf brushed with melted butter

Inside view of the 6" boule

Slices of the 6" boule
Inside view of the sandwich bread

Slices of sandwich bread

Final thoughts/tips:
  • We loved this bread. It's light, soft, with a slight wheat-y taste. The bread made for great sandwiches. Definitely something I'll bake again.
  • Changes: used 225 gr unbleached AP flour, 200 gr KAF white whole wheat flour, 25 gr golden flax seed meal (or 2 Tbsp golden flax seeds whizzed in a spice grinder), 1 tsp of salt instead of 1-1/2 tsp. Omitted brushing the bread with melted butter. Instead, I sprayed the loaf with water using a water bottle right before baking.
  • Additions to the dough before mixing: 1 Tbsp vegetable oil and 1/3 cup (23 gr) non-fat dry milk powder.
  • If you'd like to make this bread, you can find the recipe HERE.
  • I'm submitting this post to YeastSpotting!


  1. I think I will try it too. Did you sub the oil for the butter, or did you add it? Did you make it in your bread machine? I think I told you that I stole your technique of making just the dough of my weekly challah in the bread machine, and I bless you every week for that stoke of genius!

  2. Lovely bread but I have to most intrigued by the idea of challah in a bread machine from Anat's comment. I've never made challah and have always wanted to try but carpel tunnel rears it's ugly head if I start kneading. The bread machine is my friend!

  3. @Anat: since the dough didn't have any added fat in it, I added oil to the ingredients list of the dough. The recipe calls for brushing the dough with melted butter. I skipped that and just used plastic wrap. Right before baking the loaf, I sprayed them with some water using a spray bottle. And yes, I did make the dough in the bread machine. I hardly ever make bread dough in anything else :o) Let me know how it turns out when you make it! I hope you like it.

    @Barbara: thanks for stopping by. I almost always make bread dough in my bread machine, using the Dough Cycle (which is 90 minutes for mine). After that, you can take it out and shape however way you want to. Most of the work is done at that point. I hope this works for you too!!

  4. Why did you spray your bread with water? I don't know that trick. I'm assuming that the butter brushing is to make the crust soft (equivalent to the egg yolk+ water brushing of challah)- but does just water do the same thing?
    I know that when I make pizza, I spray the inside of the oven with water about three times to make the crust crispy, but sounds like the water has a different purpose in this case.

  5. Wow! You're on a bread roll! Fabulous loaf. (Curious why and how the addition of baking powder..would like to try a side by side)

    Making dough -any dough but especially the softer ones- using the bread maker is so easy and so very practical. I do it often. When you want to make a larger batch then your machine can handle just use the quick bake cycle (it will go and knead right away) keep an eye/ear on the machine. When it stops kneading get your dough out and transfer to an oiled bowl. You can start another or more of the same dough right away and add it to the one in the bowl.

  6. @Anat: spraying the loaf with water is also supposed to make the crust crispy (hard to do when baking a pizza, obviously). I always spray my bread with water right before baking. This time, however, it didn't make the crust crispy, so I'm thinking that the baking powder had something to do with the crust remaining soft (which was fine). Considering the crust was soft even without the addition of melted butter, I'd say it's a win (no extra calories!!).

    @BakingSoda: I am on a bread baking roll and loving every minute of it :o) When you do the side-by-side comparison, let me know what you find out. I'm curious too. Great tip on making the dough in the bread machine without letting it fully complete the Dough cycle (just the kneading part) and then letting the dough rise elsewhere to make the bread machine available for the next batch. To be honest, if I had to bake a big batch, I'd just use my largest KitchenAid :o)

  7. I love your pictures and the tips about using oil and spraying water on the loaves. Like you, I subbed whole wheat for some of the all purpose white, but mine was white whole wheat and I used less than you did. Do you think the flax seed/flax seed meal makes a difference to taste or texture, or is only for nutrition?

  8. @Laura: I used white whole wheat flour too (King Arthur Flour). The ground flax seeds add nutrition without much texture. Taste wise, I don't really taste it.

  9. Hanaâ:
    I like the healthful twists you made to the recipe, and admire your patience to take so many process photos!

    Glad you mentioned spraying with water. I wondered about that too. I brushed mine heavily with butter and that did yield a substantial substantial crust -- plus I probably baked it a bit longer.

    I'll be using this recipe again to see what kinds of variations it will yield.


    1. Hi Lisa, thanks so much for stopping by and for your comment. I really like this recipe too. You're right, it can be used as a base for many many variations :o)

  10. Your breads all turned out just beautiful! I need to check out your challah bread recipe.:)Great idea to have it in a loaf ready for delicious sandwiches.

    1. Glad you to see you visiting my blog, Cake Duchess. This bread is great in any shape. It sure made delicious sandwiches :o)

  11. Love these loaves, their shapes& puff they got!! Very pretty!!


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