I've been searching for a good traditional-style French country bread recipe for a long time and have always ended up disappointed. Many are too sweet or too flavourless or take too long to prepare, and almost all end up having a crumb that is far too much like soft white American-style bread with nothing of the airy, chewey, je ne sais quoi texture of "real" French bread. But with this recipe, finally, I think I've found a winner!
I halved the recipe because I only wanted to make one boule, and I also mixed in a dollop of natural yogurt with the poolish sponge to inoculate it with some lactobacillus so the end result would have a slightly sourdough-like flavour. I also left it way too late to start on the recipe so I ended up having to let the dough, rather than the poolish, prove overnight in the fridge at step 4. I dusted with a mix of flour and wheat germ, and I also cooked the boule on a pizza-stone with a small dish of water on the oven's bottom shelf to help give it a nice crunchy crust. Turned out great!
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I've been searching for a good traditional-style French country bread recipe for a long time...