About a year and a half ago, I went in search of a recipe for the eldest, after we figured out she had a sensitivity to yeast, and a craving for freshly baked bread. I started making a traditional Irish bread, without the currents and caraway seeds, which was a big hit with the two of us, but not so much for the rest of the household (“too bland and salty” were the general complaints). I then discovered this recipe for Peasant Bread – the amount of yeast is small enough not to bother her tummy, and everyone loves it. I’ve been making a pair of loaves essentially every other day for ages now, and we’re still not tired of it. It even inadvertently led to my
obsession hobby of feeding the birds this winter. When I pulled the latest batch out of the oven last night, I knew I had to share this for Fandom Friday.
While I highly recommend checking out the step-by-step instructions on the original blog (she even has short, instructional videos!), I figured I’d include how I do it here.
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 cups of lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
- 4 cups of all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- Olive oil
I use the method that Alexandra recommends on her blog when proofing my yeast – 1 1/2 cups of cold tap water, mixed with 1/2 of boiling water. Whisk the water and sugar together in a bowl (I use my 4 cup Pyrex for easy pouring after). Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water, and set aside for fifteen minutes (if I leave it longer, it gets over-proofed, and my bread becomes rock).
Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. When the yeast is ready, add to the flour mix and blend until combined (I used to do it by hand, but now I have a stand mixer – both methods work). Cover and let it sit for 80 minutes.
Grease two loaf pans with olive oil. Punch down the dough, divide it in half, and place each half in a pan. Brush the tops with more olive oil and set aside for 30 minutes more. Heat oven to 425 degrees, and bake for 15 minutes, then drop the oven temp to 375 degrees and bake for 18 minutes more. Let pans cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove from the pans (I use a wooden knife to loosen them up). Slice, enjoy, and repeat!