“How can a nation be great if it's bread tastes like Kleenex?” – Julia Child
I can't think of the last time I bought bread
My love affair with homemade bread began innocently enough .. one day in my car .. listening to NPR.
The authors of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day were discussing their new book .. and the no-knead .. keep a batch of dough in your fridge .. tear off a hunk each day to bake .. process.
Sold .. I went home & ordered a copy .. My Amazon history tells me that was May 11, 2009.
Since then I've made batches and batches of dough .. and their cookbooks have become some of my favorite gifts to give ..
If you came to my house on any given day .. this is the loaf you'd see on my counter.
I stumbled upon the recipe from one of my very favorite food blogs: Alexandra's Kitchen
When she mentioned it was her favorite, I had to give it a try. It quickly became mine as well .. for my every days. Simple, delicious, and terribly versatile.
The number of loaves I've made over the years .. too numerous to count. If you came to a family gathering .. it would be part of the menu. Even during the times I've been gluten-free .. there were still loaves rising our the fridge overnight .. for the men in my life that I love
I've made a number of modifications to her original .. One cup of graham flour is a must, but with the other 3 cups I've been experimenting … whole wheat, spelt, oat, regular .. all give just that different bit of flavor & texture.
The salt .. Since discovering flavored salts at AllSpice .. I haven't used anything regular & white. They're absolutely fantastic.
Or just make it plain .. for your everyday .. when you get up in the morning & want something warm & toasty with your peanut butter & jelly
ps: Since the original post .. Alexandra has also included a gluten-free version of this recipe at her site .. here. I have yet to give it a try .. though I imagine .. like all of her recipes .. it's spot on. She also includes an interesting write-up about her findings as she experimented to get it right
pps: One batch of dough makes two loaves .. each of which fit in 1L Pyrex glass baking bowls
ppps: For recipes and stories from Spaghetti Saturday .. here
~ Adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen
Peasant Bread (My Favorite)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup graham flour
- 2 tsp Celtic Gray Sea Salt
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- butter about 2 Tbsp (at room temperature) (** or if vegan .. choose your favorite vegan alternative )
- In a mixing bowl whisk the flours and the salt. Set aside.
- Grease a separate large bowl with butter or olive oil and set this aside. (This bowl will be used for the dough's initial rise)
- In a standing mixer's bowl, dissolve the sugar into the water. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. (If you'd like .. at this point .. to ensure the yeast is active .. you could let the mix stand for 10-15 minutes .. or until it's foamy and/or bubbling just a bit. I typically don't)
- Add the flours and salt.
- Mix (**Note: The original recipe outlines stirring with a wooden spoon, which works .. but I like to use my mixer with the dough hook and let it go for 4 or 5 minutes on medium speed) Note: the dough will be on the wet side. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl from the preparation step
- Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for at least an hour .. or until it's about doubled in size
- ** Typically, dough at our house takes 3 or 4 hours to double .. point being .. don't sweat the exact time
- Grease 2 oven-safe bowls with about a Tbsp of butter each.
- Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.
- Punch down your dough .. and divide it into 2 equal parts. One by one .. place each half on a floured counter-top. Quickly form a ball with each part & transfer them to your prepared bowls.
- At this point .. the original recipe calls for letting the dough rise until it's doubled again in size .. and this certainly works. I've taken to putting the dough into the fridge overnight for its second rise. There's something that happens to dough when it ferments for a long period of time in a cool environment.
- Pre-heat oven to 425
- Bake for 10 minutes at 425. Reduce the heat to 375º and bake for 18-19 minutes longer. Remove from the oven .. letting the loaves sit for 5-10 minutes before turning them over onto cooling racks
- If the bowls have been greased well .. the loaves should easily fall out out onto the cooling racks.
- You'll have to gauge it based on taste .. I cook the loaves on the lower end of the time the original calls for because we like them pale & soft. If that's not for you .. they can always be placed back into the oven (outside their bowls) and baked for about 5 minutes longer.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.