June 29, 2007

Peasant Bread

This is the delicious bread my husband grew up enjoying: Peasant Bread from the Palo Alto, California Junior League Cookbook. It's a lovely ciabatta-like rustic bread that is brushed with melted butter and baked on a sprinkling of cornmeal for added crunch on the bottom. In addition to being simple to make, it's incredibly delicious! As far as I know, there are two volumes of these cookbooks, and I own one of them. Mine was given to me for my wedding shower from Paul's lovely aunt Pam. I love to have this link with California, especially so close to where my husband was born.This cookbook is just great, too. It's a brief but beautiful book that feels like my own little personal collection; a slice of another sort of life. And since it's true to California, it doesn't contain your average church cookbook casseroles...no, no. It does have some kitchy things like Coconut Mold with Brandied Prunes, Chicken Curry, Ceviche, and something called Gullixson Crab, but it also has rich dishes like 2-day Filet of Beef, a great Pasta Salad, Chicken in Vermouth, and Salmon in Mustard Cream. I'm sure you get the idea. It takes me to another world of women's luncheons and society dinners. "Why, yes, this recipe will be just the thing!"

Hope you make it soon! You'll love it!!

Peasant Bread

1 packet yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt

Stir these together until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Pour into:

4 cups all-purpose flour

Stir until dough comes together and is quite sticky. Transfer this to a well-oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 45 minutes.

Transfer dough to a floured cutting board and divide into 2 rectangular loaves. Place these loaves on a well-oiled sheet pan sprinkled with a generous amount of cornmeal (about 3-4 Tbsp). Let the loaves rise another 45 minutes.Brush the loaves with melted butter. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then decrease the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 15-20 minutes. Brush with more melted butter after removing them from the oven; let cool a bit, slice and serve!


Tea said...

I tend to be scared of baking bread, but this looks like a recipe even I could handle. Thanks for sharing!

katiez said...

Ooooh! I love this! Easy and it looks fantastic!

Something new for winter cooking - makes me look forward to fall!

I was thinking of halving it - then looked at the photos again....nah!

Melissa said...

That bread looks lovely!

s'kat said...

My friend makes a similar bread, and its very delicious.

Want to step it up a bit? He brought it over one time, so we decided to have some fun with it on the grill.

After slicing, I tucked in a nice bit of Pont l’Evêque into each layer, wrapped it all up in tinfoil and warmed thoroughly over a hot bed of coals.

It was supposed to have been an appetizer, but it rapidly turned into the main course.

mooncrazy said...

I adore Jr League cookbooks. I treasure my Pasadena, CA volume and it never fails me.

This looks great.

michelle said...

Wow, that looks really good! I think I need to try it soon, now that I am slowly getting over my fear of baking yeast breads. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

Anonymous said...

I bought Peasant Bread in BIG Fork Montana and it was wonderful. I cannot get it in England and I have been searching for the recipe. Yours looks most like the bread I got in Big Fork. I shall try it.

Ron B.