January 23, 2012

Abby Dodge is one of the most talented bakers and cookbook writers around. Her (nine!) cookbooks are friendly and supportive companions in the kitchen, from the approachable and incredibly clever Desserts 4 Today (four ingredient desserts that taste like so much more) to The Weekend Baker, a sensational collection of recipes that harken back to Abby’s days as a pastry chef. Now that you know her name, you’ll see her pieces in Fine Cooking and other food magazines, and check out her blog for the  #baketogether project.

This easy-going baking project has been swirling around the twitter/facebook world for a few months. I would see people tweeting about it at hashtag #baketogether, but with all the meat-making going on over here, there was no time to bake and blog. Until now, that is.

It was Abby’s Peasant Boule that got me. Check out her post. Look at that pretty bread. And then, read the recipe. It’s a 4 hour bread!! The extra boost from baking powder makes it no-fail. It’s moist and cakey, the crumb is so tender. It slices and toasts up deliciously for breakfast bread, and turned out to be the best grilled sandwich and french toast bread ever.

I had no 8″ round cake pan, but it’s easy to make do. I used the ring – only the ring, not the base, to ensure a good bottom crust – of an 8″ springform pan. I just put the ring on top of parchment on a sheet pan and sprayed liberally with PAM. Worked like a charm.

What did I do with this perfect canvas? I started with my little addiction. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This King Arthur Vermont Cheese Powder is my drug of choice. Sprinkle it on popcorn for the most perfect afternoon snack. I added 1/2 cup of cheddar powder to the boule recipe to make a cheese bread.

With the cheese bread….

Schmeared a little (homemade!) cream cheese on a slice of bread, layer thinly sliced apples, add another slice of bread, similarly schmeared. Press together. Beat together 2 eggs and 1/2 c milk and 1 tsp each sugar and cinnamon. Dip the sandwich into the eggy custard and then slip into a heavy skillet in which 2 T of butter are bubbling away. Cook slowly until it’s time to flip it over, when a crust has formed and it releases easily. Cook on the other side, smooshing the sandwich just a little.

Cut the sandwich in half and serve with warm maple syrup and a side of bacon.

Again with the cheese bread, make a little sandwich of apples and almond butter. Grill in butter. Serve with tomato soup.

Again with the cheese bread, make croutons. For that tomato soup.

Or make my mother’s tomato pudding.

Another day, I made cinnamon raisin bread from the boule recipe.

Soak a cup of raisins in 1/3 cup boiling water. Steep for 20 minutes. Strain the raisins out, reserving the warm liquid and use that (plus 1 c water) to make the dough.

Mix together 2-3 T each white sugar and cinnamon.

Press the dough out into a rectangle, spread on the sugar mixture and the raisins, press down, then roll the dough up snugly, pressing gently. Tuck in the ends, press the seam to seal, and place in a well buttered loaf pan, seam side down. Allow to rise, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, then bake as the recipe suggests.

Mercy, that’s some wonderful french toast.

A cream cheese and jelly sandwich on raisin bread and I was a little girl at my grandmother’s kitchen table.

If the boule gets a little stale, make individual bread puddings, pressing cubes into ramekins and cover with eggy custard. Bake in a bain marie. Serve with a spoonful of jam.

Another day, I made olive orange rosemary rolls. (And took no photos.)

Pitt and chop a dozen oil cured black olives and a tablespoon of rosemary and a half teaspoon of orange zest added into the dough toward the end of the six minute knead.

After the first rise, deflate the dough and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball then tuck the rolls onto a quarter sheet pan or cake pan, so the rolls are touching slightly and there is room for the rise. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky Maldon salt. Decorate the top with a rosemary leaf.

Allow the rolls to rise for 20-30 minutes, then bake for about 25 minutes. Fantastic with burrata and green olive oil.

Go ahead and let your imagination run free. Just make a boule, and post some pictures or tweet out your success before the end of this #baketogether month.

I just can’t wait to see what Abby has planned for February.

16 Responses to “having a boule with bake together”

  1. Kimmy

    I’m set to make the boule this week. I’m so looking forward to playing around with it, it seems so adaptable!

  2. abby dodge

    what an amazing post Cathy – TY for your kind and generous words! I’m so happy you carved out some time to play with us all — we love the company!

  3. Wendy Read - Sunchowder

    Boule! I promised myself I would make this and have not gotten to it yet. Your addtions look delightful. I really like the King Arthur cheese prowders too (along with Buttermilk powder….and boiled cider syrup…and have you seen their new Vanilla???) Lovely words for Abby too and well deserved.

  4. Jessica

    That sandwich looks unreal…you had me at cream cheese…and again at maple syrup. Thank you for the bread inspiration! I haven’t been baking much bread lately, I needed a bit of a nudge. And the word “schmear” makes everything sound even more delicious, doesn’t it?

  5. Hannah

    I am totally inspired and heading over to Abby’s post to check out the baking challenge. I love all the variations you’ve shared here of this beautiful bread!

  6. Samantha

    I’ve been using Michael Ruhlman’s bread recipe in his book Ratio as my all-purpose bread recipe but I’m delighted to discover this one! Thanks for introducing us to Abby Dodge too! I’ve never ‘met’ a baker I didn’t like!

  7. Hanaa

    Wow, look at that creativity. Love it!! This recipe is very versatile, forgiving, and definitely here to stay. I made mine with 50% white WW flour + some flax seed meal for some added nutrition. I have my bread posted on my blog.

  8. Sally

    I’m just not on top of the baketogether thing–what a great idea. I have been baking bread every week this winter after reviving a sourdough that may have been in the back of the fridge for over a year (!)–you’re not supposed to be able to do that–but it came to life. I am super lazy, so I mix a very wet dough in the kitchen aid, let it rise overnight, and the next day shape it, let it rise again and bake it in a cast-iron pot. I often make a mix of rye, ww, and white bread flour with lots of seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame). I pretty much wing it every time–amazing how that works! The only problem is that it is too tempting–I want to eat more than I should. Your loaf looks so pretty; a great idea to bake it with inside the ring!

  9. Susan

    Ooo – I totally concur with the cheese powder on popcorn! The KAF store in close to home, and cheese powder is a staple in our fridge.

  10. Janwa

    Wow every version you made looks absolutely yummy! The possibilities really are endless with this bread recipe. I love French toast so will make sure to make some when I make this again!

  11. Lisa | Dust with Flour

    May I please have an apple-cheese-French-toast sandwich thingie right now? Love your creative takes on this bread. Glad to hear you like KAF cheese powder. I’ve always wondered about it but never ordered any.


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