Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Artisan Bread Series: Peasant Loaf

Here it is, what you {should} have been waiting for- the Peasant Loaf recipe.  With a crisp, crusty exterior and soft, nutty crumb, you are going to unbutton your jeans or break out the elastic waste-band pants in eager anticipation while it bakes.  It's great smothered in butter or sliced thinly for sandwiches.  Oh, the possibilities.
If you haven't read any other posts in this series, please do- it will give you some background information and tips (such as what and where to buy!) to bake this gluten goody successfully.
Equipment and Ingredient Needs
Terms and Techniques
Now, let's approach this throne of carb-lovin...
Artisan Peasant Loaf

  • 3 Cups lukewarm water
  • 4 1/2 tsp granulated yeast (not rapid rise-just plain yeast!)
  • 4 1/2 tsp coarse salt (kosher or sea) or 3 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 5 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • ½ Cups rye flour
  • ½ Cups whole-wheat flour
  • Corn meal or extra flour for dusting
  • Container to store dough
  • Fork, Hands, or Mixer+Dough Hook
  • Pizza peel, "floppy" cutting board, or flat surface for dough proofing
  • broiling pan and 2 cups water  
  •  Pour water into large mixing bowl and add yeast.  Stir until mostly dissolved.
  • Add all other ingredients and mix with hands, fork, or dough hook (which is what I use!) until thoroughly mixed.  Do not knead.  The dough will be very wet.

  • Keep in this container or transfer to the container you will eventually store it in.  Cover with plastic wrap or the container lid, but do not snap the lid on!  The gases from the yeast need to escape!  Let it sit and double in size for 2 hours at room temperature.  The top of the dough will flatten and some yeast gas pockets will looked to have "popped".

  • At this point, you can either use the dough or refrigerate and use any time in the next 2 weeks.  It is-beyond words-easier to work with the dough after it has chilled.
  • Once chilled, the dough will look to have "collapsed".  This is fine!
  • Once you are ready to bake, dust the top of the dough (and your hands) with flour.  Pull and slice off a one-pound section to make one loaf (if you don't have a kitchen scale, it should be the size of a grapefruit).  If making more loaves, separate out into grapefruit sized sections.
  • Dust corn meal (or flour) on a flat surface.  I usually use a floppy plastic cutting board from the dollar store so that I can easily slide off the loaves onto my baking stone.
  • Take each section of dough and gently pull each opposite side with your hands, pulling the sides down to the bottom of the dough ball.  Keep turning the dough and repeating this process until you have a nicely rounded dough ball (with a nasty looking bottom!  You won't see it.  Ever.  And anyway, when have you ever heard, "wow, the bottom of your bread loaf looks a little flawed"?  Really?)

  • Place each dough loaf on the dusted surface.  Let rise 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, preheat your oven to 425 degrees- your baking stone and broiler pan should be insides while preheating.
  • Let dough rise another 20 minutes.  Yes, you read that correct.  Your dough will rise a total of 40 minutes.

  • Take baking stone from the oven and slide you loaves on top.  Dust and slash the top of the loaves.  Place in the oven.
  • Pour 2 cups of water into the broiler pan (this pan cannot be glass!!  A normal metal pan will work!) and place on the oven rack above or below your bread loaves.
  • Shut the oven door, pray the next 35 minutes go by quickly!
  • Bake 35 minutes.  For parbaking instructions, see Terms and Techniques.
  • Let cook completely before slicing.  Enjoy!

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  1. YUM! I will be trying this. Need to get a baking stone.
    I love your blog! :)

  2. This looks so delicious! My party [The Inspiration Board] is up right now. If you’d like to share this with my readers, I know they would love it!


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