Peasant Bread

I discovered this recipe one day when I had an impatient craving for some fresh bread. This bread is quick, easy, tasty, and has a delightful crumb and crust. It toasts well, making it great any time, for any meal. While the recipe calls for two loaves, each baked in a 1 quart oven-proof bowl, my preference is a 13″ lidded Pullman Loaf pan. The Pullman Loaf pan will give you a shape better suited to breakfast toast and sandwiches. Take a shot at it. I think you’ll like it. Source: kingarthurbaking.com

INGREDIENTS

4 cups (482g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1-1/2 teaspoons (9g) salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
2 cups (454g) lukewarm water
softened unsalted butter, for greasing

DIRECTIONS

Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the water and mix until the water is absorbed and the dough comes together in a sticky ball.

Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 to 1-1/ 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

Toward the end of the rise, place a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat it to 425°F. Use the butter to generously grease two 1-quart oven-safe bowls, a 3-quart casserole dish (for one large loaf), or you can also use a 13″ lidded Pullman Loaf pan.

If using two bowls, use two forks to deflate the dough by releasing it from the side of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the bowl as you deflate, turning the mass into a rough ball. Divide the dough between the two 1-quart bowls. To make a single large loaf, pick up the mixing bowl, turn it over, and plop the dough into the larger casserole dish or Pullman Loaf pan.

Don’t cover the dough. Let it rise on the countertop in a warm spot for 10 to 20 minutes, until the top of the dough just crests the rims of the small bowls, or is almost doubled in the larger casserole dish or Pullman Loaf pan.

Bake the bread at 425°F for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for 17 to 20 minutes more for smaller loaves, or 25 to 30 minutes more for a single large loaf. (Baking the dough initially at a higher temperature will give your bread an immediate lift, called “oven spring”) When the bread is golden brown all over, remove from the oven and turn the bread out onto a cooling rack.

Store, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

This batch was baked in a Pullman loaf pan, with the lid in place. As you can see, it has all the appearance of a typical bread slice, without the domed top. It’s especially suited for toast and sandwiches.

Here is a loaf done in a Pullman loaf pan, baked with the lid in place. In order to accomplish the square end look, once you have put the dough into the pan, put the pan in a warm spot in your kitchen and let the dough rise until you can just put the lid on without touching the top of the dough. Alternatively, you can scale up the recipe to 125%; you’ll get a loaf as pictured, and the crumb will be a bit denser.

Did I mention that it makes great French Toast? The proof, as they say,… The slightly more open crumb of the bread really sponges up the egg mixture, adding a richness to the French Toast you don’t always get with store-bought loaves.

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