In a rush? You can get just the peasant bread recipe at my Tumblr.
I am in love with bread. I drool when I envision freshly baked loaves of sourdough. I jump at the chance to nibble on rosemary focaccia. And when I close my eyes, I can practically taste the buttery flaky goodness of brioche.
But just because I love to eat bread doesn’t mean that I’m an expert at making it. I’ve burnt more than my fair share of loaves. I’ve seen my homemade breads collapse and crumble into a mess in the oven. And I’ve pulled out rock-hard lumps that I couldn’t cut with a knife, and even if I could cut them, I’d probably chip a tooth trying to eat them.
Naturally, when I found a so-called “simple” peasant bread recipe, I couldn’t help but raise a skeptical eyebrow. The friendly description said this bread was so easy to make that it was almost impossible to mess up, and I wondered if my notoriously poor bread-making skills would prove that description wrong.
I gave the recipe a go, and I ended up with this the first time around.
It was flaky. It was soft. It was flavorful. Although it could have used a few more minutes in the oven, my loaves of bread were probably the most beautiful yeast-based creations I’ve ever made.
Still skeptical, I tried it again.
Oh goodness. The same gorgeous gold brown. The same delightful texture and flavor. If anything, it was even better than the first. Thrilled, I tried it again. And again. And again.
My husband and I could not get enough of this bread. It was sweet enough to eat with a dollop of honey, yet savory enough to dip into soup. I could cut it into quarters to snack on like a scone, and my husband would cut those quarters horizontally to make sandwiches for work.
Don’t let “simple” fool you into thinking that this bread is bland or boring. I have yet to find a food that doesn’t pair well with its flavor, though I am excited to switch things up and mix in a few seasonings the next time I bake it.
Prep Time: 5-10 Minutes
Rise Time: 2 Hours (Divided)
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: About 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Here’s what you’ll need for the original recipe:
- 2 ¼ Teaspoons Dry Active Yeast (1 Packet)
- 1 Tablespoon White Granulated Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Table Salt
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- 4 Cups All Purpose Flour
You’ll also want a little butter to brush over the dough as well as some corn meal or extra flour to sprinkle over the pan.
Keep in mind that you could get creative with the flavor. I bet this would work well with a little rosemary or topped with sea salt or sprinkled with cheese. As I learn more about the art of bread making, I’ll link to variations of this recipe that you can try.
You don’t need any fancy tools to make this recipe. However, you will want a few standard items:
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Wooden Mixing Spoon
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Baking Sheet
- Silicon Cooking Brush
- Cooling Rack
I assume that you’ll already have most of these items in your kitchen. But if you don’t, I’ve linked you to a few helpful items on Amazon.
As an amateur baker, I like to keep things as simple as possible. I find visuals just as helpful as the instructions themselves, so here’s my step-by-step guide with pictures to make simple peasant bread.
In a large bowl, stir yeast, salt, and sugar into the warm water until all the grains dissolve.
Add in flour and stir until incorporated. The dough will be sticky and a bit thick.
Cover and let rise until it doubles in size (about an hour depending on your room temperature).
Tip bread onto lightly greased and floured cooking pan. Divide into two lumps and shape into round loaves. Let dough rest for another hour.
Brush with melted butter.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve warm and enjoy!
Secrets to Success
One of the reasons I love this recipe is that you don’t have to wear your arms out trying to knead the dough into submission. In fact, you should do as little with this dough as possible. You can fold the dough a little to ensure you don’t have any large chunks of flour, but you shouldn’t knead it, or the bread will become heavy and dense.
Additionally, if you don’t mind dirtying a few extra dishes, start with a small bowl for the water, yeast, salt, and sugar and then pour it into a medium-sized bowl with the flour. Once you’ve stirred everything together, you can then transfer it into a large bowl covered with a little spray-butter to keep the dough from sticking to the sides as it rises.
When it’s done rising, the dough will tip smoothly onto your cooking pan. This technique helps you keep those nice air bubbles that make your bread fluffy.
If you’re feeling calorie-conscious, you don’t have to slather your bread in butter before baking. However, the butter gives the bread a flakier, softer crust and a more savory flavor. If you skip the butter, you may want to cover your bread and allow it to sweat a little to soften the crust.
I eat way too many carbohydrates on a regular basis, so I have a bit of a tummy as a result. I’m trying my best to be healthier, however, so I’m focusing more on reading nutrition labels. This peasant bread is surprisingly calorie friendly compared to other breads.
Keep in mind that this information isn’t 100% accurate. The calories, fiber, and other nutrients will vary depending on the brands you use and how much butter you drizzle over the bread. This nutrition label is based on the core ingredients without butter.
Did You Try It?
This is my first bread recipe on my blog, so I hope you enjoyed it. If you did try this recipe, let me know about your experience by sharing in the comments below. I’d love to hear all about any ingredient swaps or adjustments you made so I can perfect this recipe.