French Boule Bread Without Kneading


Baking time: About 1 hour
Rising time: About 18 hours

Makes: 1 1/2 pound loaf servings





  1. Dissolve yeast and salt in warm water.
  2. Mix water with flour in a large bowl until blended. Dough will be sticky.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place (about 80 - 90 deg. F.) for 16 hours.
    I set it on the bottom shelf in my gas oven with the door open. The pilot light provides the heat. The dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles.
  4. Lightly flour a cookie sheet. Put flour on your hands and turn dough onto the sheet. Sprinkle with flour and fold dough onto itself twice.
  5. Cover dough with the plastic wrap and let rise another 2 hours in your warm place.
  6. Put a covered 2-quart cast iron or ceramic pot in oven and preheat 30 minutes to 425 deg. F
  7. Flour your hands. Mold the dough into a ball. Remove pot and carefully place dough in the very hot pot.
  8. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes at 425 deg. F
  9. Remove cover and bake another 30 minutes at 375 deg. F
  10. Put bread on a rack to cool.


A very crusty french-style round loaf, with big air holes. Recipe modified from one a neighbor, Arta Wilbanks, found in an 11/08/2006 New York Times article about Jim Lahey's bread.


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