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Simple “peasant bread” fit for a king

on July 9, 2012

This recipe is being brought to you by “no buy July.” It’s where I don’t spend any more money than I absolutely have to (ie; emergencies and necessities we can’t live without, like the dogs meds & such)…for a whole month. I’ve done this before, one week at a time, but have never attempted to do it for a month. The purpose of this “challenge” (if I call it anything else it will, rapidly, lose it’s appeal) is to 1). try to save some money/spend less, 2). see what we really need that we don’t have, and 3). see what we have that we don’t really need (oy…I’ve a feeling that this last one will be huge…). In the previous months I’ve gotten extra cans and packages of this and that, when it went on sale, and squirreled it away so it’s not like I’m starting a whole month with nothing. I also grabbed a couple of $25 gift cards from the grocery store, over the last year when I had some extra cash, and can use those if I have to (but will try not to) and the garden is, finally, starting to come in.

Day 9 of “no buy July;” we’re running low on bread so it’s time to make more. I found this recipe in my bread maker book but, since I killed the bread maker last week (no tears, it had a long and useful life and I”m already dismantling it for parts), I’m back to the “old-fashioned” method of mixing and kneading by hand. But I will include both ways of making this for those of you with working bread makers.

Peasant Bread (2 ways)

1). In the Bread maker (This will make 1 bread maker-sized loaf)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. or 1/2 package dry Yeast (I use rapid rise)
  • 2 cups Bread Flour (not All Purpose)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 7/8 cup warm Water (I just eyeball a little less than 1 cup)

Add all the ingredients to the machine in the order listed here. Choose either “regular” or “light” crust (depending on your preference and push “start.”

2). Hand mixed & kneaded (same recipe, doubled, but different directions to make 1 regular loaf)

  • 1-3/4 cup warm Water
  • 4 tsp. or 1 package dry Yeast
  • 1 Tbs. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 4 cups Bread Flour

Directions:

Add the warm water to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. 

Let it set (“proof”) about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and salt, mixing well.

Add the bread flour and mix again. The dough will be crumbly but, once it’s kneaded, will come together just fine.

Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured flat surface and knead it about 5 minutes or until it’s smooth and elastic. If it starts to get sticky, dust the surface of the dough with a bit more flour.

Oil a clean bowl with a bit of olive or vegetable oil (about a tsp). Form the dough into a ball and roll it around the oiled bowl. This will prevent the dough from get dry on the surface. 

Cover the bowl with a clean towel and set it in a warm place to rise, for about an hour (when I was first learning to make bread I remember the one and only time I misread and used tablespoons instead of teaspoons on the yeast…that was interesting. All I needed was red hair and I could’ve been Lucille Ball…).

Once it’s doubled in size, punch it down (just once, you’re not sparring), shape it into a “loaf” and place it in an oiled loaf pan (I’ve never tried but I don’t see why you couldn’t do this in a pie pan, as well, if you don’t have a loaf pan. You’ll just end up with a round loaf instead of square).

Cover it again and turn on the oven to 350F. While the oven is heating up, place the loaf pan on top of the oven (not in it) – this will give it another start at rising in the oven. (I don’t turn my oven on, when baking breads/rolls, until I’m good and sure I’m going to need it, especially in the summer. No need to heat up the kitchen more than you have to).

Bake about 40 minutes (check after 30) or until, when tapped, the loaf sounds ‘hollow’ and has a nice, light brown crust. This bread makes delicious sandwiches for lunches (just ask Fred…) and will stay fresh about a week (if it lasts that long).

TIP: Before making recipe, pull out all your ingredients. This will ensure you have everything on hand. And, as you use them, put them away. You’ll always know where you are in the recipe in case you get called away.

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2 responses to “Simple “peasant bread” fit for a king

  1. Little Sis says:

    I like this challenge and I’ve kind of been doing it too, although I didn’t really realize it. I got fed up with myself for overbuying and overspending at the grocery, so we’re wheedling it out a bit, and seeing what’s REALLY in that pantry…. Instructive so far, but I fear the milk is dwindling. How to stop myself (when I DO actually have to go) from loading up again? Here’s to remembering what we need and ignoring the rest, or at least enough of the rest. 🙂

  2. LB Driver says:

    Goodness, I understand — it’s easy to go crazy with sales and stocking up, especially in today’s uncertain economy, but you have to make sure it’s stuff you’ll eat/use (it seems like “a given” but you’d be surprised with some of the things that people buy just because it’s a good price!) and that it won’t expire before you do! 😉 So, yes! Here’s to living more simply! 😉 Thanks, so much, for commenting!

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