When we met chef Adam Leonti of Brooklyn Bread Lab, his passion for bread was inspiring. After carefully taking notes on what seemed to be a basic boule, we returned to our Test Kitchen to discover that it actually is the easiest bread recipe ever. Four ingredients mixed into a dough go through two fermentations and then bake into a soft, satisfying boule—basically the most addictive white bread you'll ever eat. Just ask TT editors: The entire team stood around slathering it with butter, salt and jam after it was sliced.
The hardest part of the recipe? Converting it from grams for you (which we were happy to do). However, because the recipe has only four ingredients, Leonti stresses the importance of the flour. Brooklyn Bread Lab fresh-mills its own flour, but we don't expect you to: Leonti swears by Hayden Flour Mills Red Fife wheat bread flour, but he also encourages you to experiment with whichever artisan bread flour you can find. And even if you can't find artisan flour, any run-of-the-mill bread flour will work and still make an amazing loaf.
To learn more, read "Boule's Gold."
Recipe adapted from Adam Leonti, Brooklyn Bread Lab, Brooklyn, NY
Yield: One 12-inch boule
Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus 16 hours proofing time
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes, plus 16 hours proofing time
6½ cups (975 grams) bread flour (preferably from Hayden Flour Mills), plus more for dusting
2½ tablespoons (25 grams) salt
1 tablespoon (10 grams) active dry yeast
3½ cups (800 grams) water
1. In a large bowl, mix together the bread flour, salt and yeast. Slowly add in the water while mixing with a rubber bench scraper. Continue to mix until the dough becomes elastic, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and shape the dough into a ball, dusting with flour as needed. Place in a floured bowl and let sit at room temperature, covered, for 4 hours.
2. Punch down the dough and scrape out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a ball, dusting with flour as needed, and place in a heavily floured bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 500º with a baking stone on the middle rack. Gently transfer the dough to a heavily floured pizza peel, reshaping it to make it round. Make 3 parallel slits across the dough, cutting ⅛ inch deep. Transfer the dough to the baking stone and bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing.