Is it possible to make the famed French Boule?

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    The origin of the traditional French house is a somewhat hazy story. Historians tell us that it was made in the early twelve hundreds by a nobleman in France called Basques. It was probably invented to replace the roux, which the aristocrats had been using for years to cook tasty pastries and desserts but didn’t have time to prepare themselves. They got another idea and made some roux bread for themselves.

    It is important to note here that white bread flour doesn’t play a part in the preparation of the original French bread. In actuality, it’s not even mentioned in the original recipe. The wheat flour that most contemporary recipes call for is what is used in many of today’s cakes and breads. The interesting thing about this is that while it is known as French boule (in French), it actually contains oats.

    Oats are not technically grass, but they are a better medium for gluten to be processed immediately into gluten-free flour. If you look at the back label on a good French house recipe, you will see that it contains oats, a corn starch base and wheat germ. One could say that the French bread is made with corn meal or flax seed meal. That is not to say that contemporary flour has no place in a good French bread recipe, but I would not count on it as a key ingredient.

    There are two types of bread, that you may recognize when shopping in a French butcher or deli: German and Dutch-oven. Most people think that a German dutch-oven is a sort of sourdough. It’s not. A German dutch-oven is made from a yeast strain called levain which is not part of the natural yeast living in our own bodies. German bread made with this strain is never bread in the common sense of this word, but rather an extremely sweet, dense yeast bread with a tangy taste and a great deal of structure.

    For a quick, light toast, mix one tablespoon of brown sugar with one tablespoon of cinnamon in a bowl. Add one tablespoon of instant coffee to the mix and stir until everything becomes smooth and fluffy. Line a baking pan with a very lightly moistened pastry shell and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When using a wire rack, put the finished French boule in the middle of the rack. Bake for ten to fifteen minutes .

    Once cool, remove the paper in the bottom of the loaf and discard the paper. Spoon the cooled mixture into your hands and form a ball with your fingers, then put it into a disc. Using a wet towel, gently roll the ball of dough until it is about twice the depth of a cookie cutter and place it in your refrigerator. It is possible to freeze the completed French Boule in an airtight container to keep it fresh until needed.

    For the next step, you will need to make a double batch. Place the finished French Bread into one of your re-sealable plastic bags, then cut off about a half inch of the bottom of the loaf. Using a sharp knife, start scraping the bread in 1 direction, and turn the bag around so that the slices are coming out in a different direction. After about fifteen minutes have elapsed, remove the slices in the plastic bag and put them in your pre-heated oven, or serve them warm.

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