May 28, 2009

European Peasant Bread in 5 Minutes a Day!

The only problem with this bread, is trying to stop yourself from eating the whole loaf!

With this recipe and method, you won't be able to say you can't make homemade bread anymore, or you don't have time. It is so yummy, and so worth it. :))

This recipe will make four 1-pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved if you prefer. Preparing the dough for the first time is the most time consuming part.

3 C lukewarm water (not hot! that will kill your yeast)
1 1/2 TB Yeast (instant or traditional)
1 1/2 TB Salt or coarse salt
1/2 C Rye Flour (subsititute for all purpose if you want)
1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour (again substitute if you wish)
5 1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
Cornmeal for the pizza peel or cookie sheet

1) Mix yeast and salt with the water in a 5 litre bowl, or a lidded container (but not an airtight lid).

2) Mix remaining dry ingredients without kneading. Just stir using a wooden spoon until there are no more dry spots.

3) Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temp. until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours, but may take longer if your water was cold. You won't ruin it if you let it rise for hours.

This is what the dough looks like after it's risen and collapsed. Pretty wet. There's no way you could knead this with your hands, it's way too sticky.

4) The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, but it is a lot easier to work with if it has been refrigerated for at least 3 hours or overnight.

The "5 Minutes a Day" part:
5) On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) portion. Use a serrated knife. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides. You should only have to handle it for 30-60 seconds. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel, or an upside down cookie sheet, for about 40 minutes.

6) Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450, with a baking stone placed in the middle rack, and a broiler tray on a lower rack.

7) Sprinkle loaf liberally with flour and slash a cross or scallop pattern into the top using a serrated bread knife.

8) Slide loaf directly onto stone, and pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray to create steam in your oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top crust is deeply browned and very firm.

9) Allow to cool before slicing or eating.

10) Try not to eat the whole loaf yourself :)

The dough will keep in your refrigerator for the next 14 days. And as it ages it will take on sourdough-like characteristics. Your last loaf will taste even more flavourful than your first!

Check out Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day for more recipes and variations on this simple technique.

1 comment:

Michael said...

mmm yummy!!
I make bread once a week that is sourdough like. It sits on the counter and ferments for a few days before I finish with it.
I will have to try your recipe with spelt flour. rebecca is allergic to wheat.