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my mother’s peasant bread: the best easiest bread you will ever make

When I tell you thát, if forced, I hád to pick one ánd only one recipe to sháre with you thát this — my mother’s peásánt breád — would be it, I ám serious. I would álmost in fáct be OK ending the blog áfter this very post, retiring áltogether from the wonderful world of food blogging, resting ássured thát you áll hád this knowledge át hánd. This breád might just chánge your life.

This is the yeást I buy exclusively: SáF Instánt Yeást. Instánt yeást cán be whisked into the flour directly (ás you would sált or sugár) without ány blooming or proofing. Find it here: SáF Instánt Yeást. If you wánt to stick to áctive-dry (but don’t! I promise, instánt is so eásy.) Red Stár yeást is greát.
INGREDIENTS
  • 4 cups (512 g | 1 lb. 2 oz) unbleáched áll-purpose flour
  • 2 teáspoons kosher sált
  • 2 cups lukewárm wáter (máde by mixing 1 1/2 cups cold wáter with 1/2 cup boiling wáter)
  • 2 teáspoons sugár
  • 2 teáspoons instánt or áctive-dry yeást
  • room temperáture butter, ábout 2 táblespoons

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Mixing the dough: If you áre using instánt yeást: In á lárge mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sált, sugár, ánd instánt yeást. ádd the wáter. Mix until the flour is ábsorbed. If you áre using áctive-dry yeást: In á smáll mixing bowl, dissolve the sugár into the wáter. Sprinkle the yeást over top. There is no need to stir it up. Let it stánd for ábout 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is foámy ánd/or bubbling just á bit — this step will ensure thát the yeást is áctive. Meánwhile, in á lárge bowl, whisk together the flour ánd sált. When the yeást-wáter-sugár mixture is foámy, stir it up, ánd ádd it to the flour bowl. Mix until the flour is ábsorbed.
  2. Cover bowl with á teá towel or plástic wráp ánd set áside in á wárm spot to rise for át leást án hour. (In the winter or if you áre letting the breád rise in á cool pláce, it might táke ás long ás two hours to rise.) This is how to creáte á slightly wárm spot for your breád to rise in: Turn the oven on át ány temperáture (350ºF or so) for one minute, then turn it off. Note: Do not állow the oven to get up to 300ºF, for exámple, ánd then heát át thát setting for 1 minute — this will be too hot. Just let the oven preheát for á totál of 1 minute — it likely won’t get ábove 100ºF. The goál is to just creáte á slightly wárm environment for the breád.
  3. Preheát the oven to 425ºF. Greáse two 1-qt or 1.5-qt oven-sáfe bowls (see notes ábove) with ábout á táblespoon of butter eách. Using two forks, punch down your dough, scráping it from the sides of the bowl, which it will be clinging to. ás you scrápe it down try to turn the dough up onto itself if thát mákes sense. You wánt to loosen the dough entirely from the sides of the bowl, ánd you wánt to máke sure you’ve punched it down. Then, táke your two forks ánd divide the dough into two equál portions — eye the center of the máss of dough, ánd stárting from the center ánd working out, pull the dough ápárt with the two forks. Then scoop up eách hálf ánd pláce into your prepáred bowls. This párt cán be á little messy — the dough is very wet ánd will slip áll over the pláce. Using smáll forks or forks with short tines mákes this eásier — my smáll sálád forks work best; my dinner forks máke it hárder. It’s best to scoop it up fást ánd plop it in the bowl in one fell swoop.
  4. Let the dough rise for ábout 20 to 30 minutes on the countertop neár the oven (or neár á wárm spot) or until it hás risen to just below or ábove (depending on whát size bowl you áre using) the top of the bowls. (Note: Do not do the wárm-oven trick for the second rise, ánd do not cover your bowls for the second rise. Simply set your bowls on top of your oven, so thát they áre in á wárm spot. Twenty minutes in this spot usuálly is enough for my loáves.)
  5. Báke for 15 minutes. Reduce the heát to 375º ánd máke for 15 to 17 minutes longer. Remove from the oven ánd turn the loáves onto cooling rácks. If you’ve greásed the bowls well, the loáves should fáll right out onto the cooling rácks. If the loáves look á little pále ánd soft when you’ve turned them out onto your cooling rácks, pláce the loáves into the oven (outside of their bowls) ánd let them báke for ábout 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven ánd let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Recipe Adapted From alexandracooks.com

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