Baking bread at home has two advantages.
One it wakes up everyone. The aroma fill the whole town. Its like walking down a quaint German street.
Two, you don’t have to get your better half to go running for bread to walmart at night. This bread unlike a baguette or the normal French breads is actually bake-able.
The peasant bread is perhaps the easiest bread you can do. Make any mistakes with this and I’ll say you can’t bake. It’s that damn simple.
All that’s needed is fresh yeast. Don’t compromise on that. You’ll end up with un-raised dough.
Since we all have convection ovens at home I’d suggest getting a Borosil or Pyrex microwave proof bowl too.
Attribution: The Palo Alto Junior League Cookbook
- In a sufficiently deep steel bowl add the flour and salt and mix it well. Keep aside
- Make lukewarm water. If the water is warmer than lukewarm you'll end up killing the yeast. One trick to get the perfect lukewarm water is to mix 1/2 cup boiling water to 1.5 cups normal cool water. The mixture is the perfect lukewarm. To the lukewarm water add sugar and stir till dissolved.
- Now add the yeast to water and keep for 15 minutes. If the yeast is good you'll see some frothing or bubbling up of the water. The yeast will tend to come up to the top of the water.
- After 15 minutes add the water mixture to the flour and mix with a spatula. The dough now will be very wet. Don't mix with a beater or KitchenAid. Use hand
- Cover the vessel with a wet cloth and keep aside in a warm environment for 1 hour. The dough will rise to twice the size.
- This dough is enough to be baked twice for 4 people.
- Now with the butter grease two pyrex or borosil bowls. This is so that the bread does not stick to the pan. Dont be too generous or too little.
- Now comes the hardest part.
- Uncover the vessel and with two forks cut the dough into two parts. Its a bit difficult since the dough tends to stick to the fork. Do it fairly fast
- Immediately take one part and transfer into one of the borosil bowl. Punch down the dough once again. Take the other part and do the same into the other bowl.
- Use the same wet cloth and and cover both the bowls for another 30 mins.
- After thats done preheat the oven to 220 Celsius and put one of the bowls for 10 minutes. At the end of 10 minutes lower the temperature to 180 celsius and keep it for another 25 minutes.
- Take out the bread, topple from the vessel and move it to a cooling rack. DON'T keep it in the bowl. The bottom tends to collect water.