Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Orange Rosemary Boule (Yeast Bread) #TwelveLoaves

In every Paris boulangerie you will find boules for sale, breads shaped like the eponymous ball. Often they are so-called country loaves or pain de compagne, but they almost always have a crusty exterior and a soft crumb inside. Despite its shape, this particular boule bakes up more like a pain de mie, with a soft crust and a soft crumb inside. 

I am loathe to speak badly of Paris, because it’s a city I love, but there were times, many times, in the three years we lived there that I would have given anything just to see some sunshine. Winter was cold and grey and rainy. And long. The girls were little and seemed to have constant colds, accompanied by the inevitable runny noses and consumptive coughs that keep a mother up at night. Once the baby’s congestion was so bad that the pediatrician wrote her a prescription for a therapist who came to the house to bang her on the back and suction the mucus out of her chest. Too much information for a food blog? Yeah, well. That was my life. On the other hand, I learned to appreciate whatever joy I could find, even through the cold, wet days. One was the daily pleasure that was watching my children blossom and grow as little, articulate people. The other was the bakery just around the corner from our home. I’d bundle the girls up and we’d go for a walk, just to get out of the house. Stepping into the headily yeasty boulangerie, with its eye-goggling display of artisan breads and fancy pastries and Viennoiseries, a subclass of baked goods that include croissants, pain au chocolat and brioche, we were transported to a place where it was warm and inviting, indeed summer all year round. My elder daughter almost invariable chose a palmier – a sweet treat made from puff pastry, baked to a golden crunch, and my younger daughter, when she got old enough, chose a pain aux raisins – a brioche bun baked with raisins. My favorite take-home was a baguette they called tradition, shorter than a baguette ordinaire or standard baguette, that is baked after a longer fermentation time, with a thicker, crustier outside.

For this month’s Twelve Loaves, our ingredient is oranges which easily lends itself to many sweet options. I decided to go savory and add rosemary to the mix, forming the dough into a boule or ball. As it baked, both the oven and the wonderful aroma of oranges and rosemary warmed our rented house in Providence, taking me back to the welcome we received at La Fournée d'Enfance all those years ago.

1/2 cup or 120ml water
1/2 cup or 120ml orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil plus a little extra for oiling bowl for proofing
2 tablespoons grated orange zest plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 oz or 7g active dry yeast
Several sprigs fresh rosemary plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon sea salt
2-3 cups or 250 – 375g unbleached wheat flour (If you are using regular all-purpose flour, you might use even more.)
2 tablespoons milk

In large bowl, measure in 1/2 cup or 60g of your flour and make a little well in the middle. Sprinkle in your yeast and then pour in 1/4 cup or 60ml of the water that has been warmed. Let this hang out for a few minutes, while the warm water activates the dried yeast.

Meanwhile zest and juice your orange. Mine was a Minneola, a special hybrid between tangerines and grapefruit, distinguished by the knob at the end and being extra sweet and juicy. One Minneola gave me a 1/2 cup of juice so I ended up not needing the second one and just peeled it and ate it. Lovely! They are only available in early spring but if you can find some, buy!

Pull leaves off your rosemary sprigs and mince most of them finely. Keep a few leaves for garnish.

To your yeast/flour mixture, add in the orange juice, oil, zest, honey, rosemary, and salt. Be sure to reserve some zest and rosemary for garnish before baking.

Mix until you have a loose batter.

Mix in enough flour, a 1/2 cup or about 60g at a time, to form a soft dough. I used unbleached wheat flour. When I finished adding two cups, it was already fairly stiff so I kneaded in the last half cup. Bleached flour doesn’t absorb as much water so it might take you more if you are using regular all-purpose flour.

Turn dough out onto floured board and knead it for about five minutes, sprinkling on extra flour if needed. Form the dough into a nice round ball. Wash out your mixing bowl then dry it and oil it. Put your dough ball in and toss it around a little to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with a cloth or some cling film and put it in a warm place for about an hour. Meanwhile, grease your baking pan with a little more olive oil.

After the hour is up, punch the dough down and knead again for a minute or two.

Form the dough into a nice round ball and put it in your baking pan. Cover it with the mixing bowl and put it in a warm place for the second rising of about an hour.

When your hour is almost up, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

When your hour is up, use a very sharp knife or lame, to cut a cross in the top of the dough. Gently brush on some milk with a pastry brush. (I didn’t have a brush so I used some spare sprigs of rosemary. They didn’t add any flavor, of course, but I felt resourceful and creative so that’s worth something.)

Sprinkle on your reserved zest and rosemary.

Bake the boule in your preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes or until the dough reaches 180°F or 82°C when measured by thermometer in the middle or is golden brown all over and sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing. If you can wait that long.


One of the goals of each month’s Twelve Loaves challenge is to encourage bread baking. I hope this wonderful list of orange flavored recipes inspires you to create some warmth in your own kitchen.

If you would like to join us this month, it’s easy:

1. Bake a bread using oranges and post it on your blog before the end of April 2014. This must be a new post. Your bread of choice recipe can include oranges, orange marmalade, orange zest, in fact, anything orange related but it must be IN the dough. In addition to being in the dough, it could also be added to a glaze. Whatever you bake, (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, braids, flatbreads, etc) have fun!
2. Mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your post. This helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts.
3. Add your link to the linky tool at the bottom of this post.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess. #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to the help of the Renee from Magnolia Days and Heather from girlichef.

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  1. Oh, you transported me straight to that boulangerie! I could feel the comfort of that cozy yeasty air as you stepped inside. Sigh. I love this flavor combo, Stacy...and would give anything to have a slice right now.

  2. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs...and I can only imagine how amazing your bread must taste!!!

  3. So do I, Jean! I have a stand mixer with a bread hook but I often choose to make it by hand for just that reason.

  4. One of my favorites as well, Heather. In fact, anything with orange. I just cooked chicken breasts with orange and thyme for dinner tonight. :)

  5. It tasted almost as good as it smelled baking, Liz. You can't beat the aroma of bread baking with rosemary.

  6. A absolute beauty of a loaf Stacy. I'm so glad you went savory and shared this bread. Oh, and love your resourcefulness of using rosemary as a pastry brush.

  7. Boule, boule, boule! I just love that word! Nice baking with you this month for #TwelveLoaves!

  8. I'm sorry your girls (and you) went through a rough patch. Every weather has it's health related disadvantages and culinary benefits! Freshly baked and great looking bread gives the much needed comfort ;) Your bread looks great! I've a particular fascination for boules and rosemary being one of my favorite herbs, I would love to try this bread.

  9. what temp do you bake the bread at?

  10. Stacy,
    you lived in Paris for 3 years?! we honeymooned in Paris and oh wow I wish I could go back. . but I love how you brought us down to reality and mentioned the winter there. . ah but at least you got to go to the french bakeries. . rain and all, I would be going out as much as possible. . love love love this bread! so rustic and beautiful. I love the shape and everything about it. so so beautiful. . and I am lusting after your cutting board/block. I saw one the other day at Bed, Bath & Beyond for like $70 or $80. . one day!

  11. This bread is just gorgeous. I love the story about living in Paris. I guess I don't have to feel so bad that I didn't live in Paris while raising my children, lol. =)

  12. Wow, what a beautiful load of bread. I can just imagine enjoying piece after piece of this.

  13. When your hour is almost up for the second rising, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

  14. How cool that you lived in Paris for 3 years. I bet you ate incredible breads and pastries!! Such an incredible boule, Stacy. The flavors, the crust, the crumb-just love!!

  15. Did you forget your delightful sister that brought you a frozen TURKEY in her luggage so that you could have a proper Thanksgiving dinner? Or the rhubarb that you found growing in the yard? You liked Paris, admit it :)

  16. When you go back, Alice, go in the late spring or summer or even early fall. There is no more beautiful city in those seasons. Our favorite month was actually August, despite the heat and no air conditioning. That's because with the heat and no air conditioning, the city was practically empty. All the Parisians take the month off and go south. And you can park freely anywhere since the meter maids also had the month off.

    I wish I could claim the cutting board. It belongs to the owner of the airbnb house we were renting for the week. By the way, the last time we stayed in Paris, not with friends, we rented a wonderful apartment through airbnb. I could do ads for them. Great organization!

  17. Your step by step photos really help me envision making this bread in my own kitchen. Love the flavors and love the thought of a bakery in Paris.

  18. Thats one beautiful peace of bread, love the flavors

  19. This bread is gorgeous! I would love a slice. I would have never thought of an orange rosemary combo. Sounds divine!

  20. As I read this post sitting here in France... it is gray and drizzling outside and I could so use a punch of sunshine. This beautiful bread would do it perfectly for me! Recipe bookmarked! I adore the addition of orange in a boule!

  21. I knew you would understand, Jamie! May the warm sunshine break through for you soon!

  22. I make a lemon rosemary chicken and have sometimes substituted oranges for the lemon so I thought, why not? It was a good thought. :)

  23. That's why I do them, Holly! Hope you do try it.

  24. We took full advantage, Lora. All year round!

  25. Thank you, Felice. It was so lovely warm with a nice smear of butter. Then later I toasted it to eat with Brie. Also good!

  26. You don't need to feel bad at all, Karen! We did have a wonderful time exploring the area but just would have been a bit happier with some more sunshine.

  27. The good times definitely outweighed the bad, Deepti. I've always said I'd love to live there again, now that the girls are grown. Paris is one of my favorite cities and we visit whenever we have a chance.

  28. Me too, Dorothy! Best bread name, I think. Nice baking with you too!

  29. Since we were in a rented house, I looked through every drawer first, Renee. I don't think the owner is a baker. :) I was so happy to find a baking pan! For my Muffin Monday posts, I made my daughter bring her muffin tin.

  30. What an absolutely gorgeous loaf of bread, Stacy, and since I've only spent a long weekend there, you make me want to return to Paris for the amazing baked goods, despite the crummy weather you described which is what I experienced there.


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