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Friday, October 9, 2015

Peasant Bread

This bread was wonderful, nice and fluffy and so easy to slice.

4 cups all-purpose flour* (do not use bleached all-purpose)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups lukewarm water**
2 to 3 teaspoons sugar (I use 2, my mom uses 3 — difference is negligible)
2 teaspoons active-dry yeast***
room temperature butter, about 2 tablespoons
 
In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar into the water.
Sprinkle the yeast over top. (There is no need to stir it up.)
Let it stand for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is foamy.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
When the yeast-water-sugar mixture is foamy, stir it up, and add it to the flour bowl.
Mix until the flour is absorbed.
Cover bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for at least an hour. This is how to create a slightly warm spot for your bread to rise in: Turn the oven on at any temperature (350ºF or so) for one minute, then turn it off.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Grease two oven-safe bowls (such as the pyrex bowls I mentioned above) with about a tablespoon of butter each.
Divide dough into two portions and place in well greased bowls/ pans.
Let the dough rise for about 20 to 30 minutes on the countertop near the oven (or near a warm spot) or until it has risen to just below or above (depending on what size bowl you are using) the top of the bowls. (Note: Do not do the warm-oven trick for the second rise, and do not cover your bowls for the second rise. Simply set your bowls on top of your oven, so that they are in a warm spot. Twenty minutes in this spot usually is enough for my loaves.)
Bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 375º and make for 15 to 17 minutes longer.
Remove from the oven and turn the loaves onto cooling racks.
Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.