Peasant Bread and its many uses

Posted on October 12, 2011

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Folks. You have to try this bread if you’ve ever been just a teeny bit interested in having your own fresh bread baking on a cold fall morning, but wondered if you’d have the time or energy to make it happen.

There was a month or so where I was making this once a week, and then keeping the dough in the fridge to pull out at a moments notice and throw in the oven (well, ok 40 min notice–for final rise and preheat).

Served with plum jam (thanks Maggie and Patrick!) and Gorilla coffee here:

European Peasant Bread (via Honey and Jam-great fblog!)
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Makes four 1 pound loaves

Ingredients

3 Cups lukewarm water
1 1⁄2 Tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1⁄2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
31⁄2 Cup whole wheat flour
3 Cups unbleached all purpose flour

(Essentially I use as much whole wheat flour as you want, reducing the total by roughly 1/4 c for every extra cup of whole wheat flour you use. So if I’m using entirely whole wheat flour, which has worked nicely a few times, I’ll be putting in 5 1/2 to 5 3/4 c. total)
It suggests cornmeal, but I prefer breadcrumbs for the same effect; dusting the peel

Mix yeast, salt and water in a bowl. Let sit a few min to “bloom”.

Mix in remaining ingredients without kneading; using wooden spoon; may need to use hands to get the last bit of flour worked in. No problems with that here! See my manifesto to learn more about how much I love messes.

Cover and let rise at room temp; until dough rises and collapses. 2 hrs.

Dough can be baked after initial rise, or placed in fridge for up to 14 days, in a lidded (not airtight) container.

For final rise (on baking day): dust dough with flour, and break off a grapefruit size piece, dusting spot where it will rise with flour, and shaping into a ball (tucking edges underneath). Let it rise on breadcrumbs for 40 min.

20 min before baking, preheat oven to 450, and place a baking stone in middle rack. Honestly, I use a ceramic pie dish and it works totally well. Place a cookie sheet on oven rack below, let them both heat up.

Sprinkle more flour on top of dough and slash an X in it with a serrated knife.

Then, slide dough onto baking stone and toss in a cup or a cup and a half of water onto the tray below and quickly close the oven door; the steam will create that amazing crisp crust with a soft, dense but airy center. Bake for 35 min.

Great for sandwiches like this one:

Avocado

Djion

Tomato

Aged cheddar

Whatever else sounds good

(I also did a variation that included brie, apples, argula and fig jam–perfection! No pictures because I gobbled it before I had time to think about the camera. Oops. Yummy.)

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Posted in: Slow Cooker