In January, the #Baketogether group I participate in was given as our inspiration from Abby Dodge, a bread called boule (from the French word ball). I had loaned my cake pans to a friend for a multi-layered cake she was baking so ending up using an unusual shaped pan that I had forgotten about and the result was, well, cute but not exactly the proscribed ball!
I had some Meyer lemons on hand and so incorporated lemon into my version which I finished with a topping of turbinado sugar. It wouldn’t be fair to call it sweet but I’ve been wanting to make an obviously savory version since then. With the mild winter we’ve had in Colorado I was actually able to pick some of my own thyme last week for this version. I expect to be able to gather sage for Thanksgiving; it’s a robust plant with tough stems and thick leaves, but I remain amazed at how tough thyme is considering how delicate the leaves are; as long as it’s not hidden under snow I can harvest and use it almost all winter long even if the leaves have turned a bit darker.
Considering that the word boule does come from the French word ball, this version is going against the grain even more than my first. Wanting to roll a garlic and thyme mixture throughout the center forced me to use yet another under used pan. Maybe Abby’s real purpose is to get us to sort through our bakeware and find inspiration from that effort?
Totally different yet similar in that this is just a great, simple bread recipe and that allows for a wide range of possibilities. Herbs, oil, cheeses…they can all contribute to you enjoying some of your own ‘boule boule’ (yes, to the tune of wooly wooly!).
I love that this bread is easy enough for the beginner and yet sophisticated enough for the experienced bread maker; try it and have some fun of your own!