My husband got me a very fun present for Christmas this year. Flour. I know, not really that fun for most people, but I do love to bake bread (and eat it) and this gift was very unexpected. So he purchased First Clear flour, Italian flour, French flour and Irish Style flour. I usually make a boule from bread flour in the No-Knead Bread style. See the recipe I use below.
3 cups bread flour
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water (120°F)
It is called no knead, but I put it all into my kitchen aid mixer with the hook attachment and mix it until it comes together to look like a loose dough. Then I pull all the sides together to form a small ball. Cover and let rest on the counter or in the oven. If it is really cold in my house, I will start to preheat the oven and turn it off quick so it is like a proofing box, but not hot, about 90°F. Let it sit all day. When you are an hour and a half away from dinner, turn the dough out onto a couche (floured towel would work too) and carefully form a small ball. I cover with the couche and leave until the oven is ready. Put a dutch oven (7 inch tall round dutch oven with cover) into the cold oven, and let that preheat as well. When the oven has reached 450°F put the timer on for 30 minutes to make sure the dutch oven is also ready and preheated.
When the oven is ready, transfer the bread using a floured board or sheet into the hot dutch oven. Cover and put dutch oven back into the oven for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes.
Thats it! I make my normal boule at least once a week. It is crusty on the outside and has a nice soft crumb in the center.
My first attempt at a comparison was between my normal bread flour boule and the french boule. We liked both of them. The french flour was lighter and more delicate and I felt our normal boule was heartier.
Bread Flour vs. First Clear Flour
Here is what my breads turned out like. They were both great, made in the same way stated above and cooked in my dutch ovens as I directed.
The miche you can see is a little more dense and the regular bread flour boule turned out a little fluffier with larger holes in the crumb. They were both wonderful but I still prefer my original recipe with the bread flour I can buy in my local store.