Wednesday, January 12, 2011

228. Peasant Bread, Rustic

Some bread recipes are so simple it almost seems like they couldn't possibly produce an edible loaf. In truth...a little flour, salt and water is all that is needed for a package of yeast to do its job. Anyone who can measure, mix and knead should be able to make a beautiful loaf of Peasant Bread.

This little loaf, besides being so simple, has a rustic-looking shape that invites compliments. The fragrance as it bakes is as good as any other bread. Its moist texture goes well with soup and salads, Italian dishes and stews. Many gloomy days and nights have been brightened significantly by the appearance of this attractive, Peasant is better than just about anything you can buy in a store...especially if it is made with love!

Peasant Bread

1 pkg dry yeast, about 2 1/4 tsp
1 C warm water
3 C bread flour
1 tsp salt

Follow bread machine manufacturer's directions for dough-cycle. (Hand directions below).
Remove raised dough when cycle ends.

*Punch down dough and place on a floured surface. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Shape dough into a evenly-shaped round loaf. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.

Using Pam, spray the dough as well as a piece of waxed paper and use it to loosely cover surface of dough. Allow covered dough to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Uncover dough. Make (3)1/4 inch deep cuts across the top of the dough with a sharp knife. Bake loaf for 20 minutes or until bread is browned on the bottom. Cover bread loosely with foil after the first10 minutes of baking if the top browns too quickly.

Test for doneness by tapping the top of the bread. If it sounds hollow, it is done. Remove loaf to a cooling rack. Brush with butter if desired. Cool and serve. Most homemade bread is best served the day it is baked although day-old bread makes wonderful French toast.

By hand directions: Put yeast in warm water, stir and let rest for 5 minutes. Add yeast mixture to a large bowl. Measure flour 1 cup at a time and the salt. Stir until a sof dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Add flour as needed to keep it from sticking to hands.Place dough in a large greased bowl, Cover and let rise in a warm , draft-free place until doubled in size (45 minutes). Follow directions from *.

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