European Peasant Bread

I got this recipe from a beautiful blog recently. And since I was looking for this bread recipe for years, they were a godsend! And this would be great to sop up the soup bowl with!

European Peasant Bread (adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)

3 c lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast (2 packets)
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 c rye flour
1 c whole wheat flour
4 1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour
cornmeal for the pizza peel

1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast and salt with the water in a 5 quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

2. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon. You may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.  No need for a mixer here.  Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top) approximately 2 hrs.

3. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold.  Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 14 days.

4. When ready to bake, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 pound (grapefruit sized) piece.  Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.  Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal covered pizza peel for 40 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees with a baking stone placed on the middle rack.  The original recipe calls for 20 minute preheat, but I really like to get the oven as hot as possible.  Place an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won’t interfere with the rising bread.

6. Sprinkle the loaf liberally with flour and slash a cross, scallop, or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top, using a serrated bread knife.  Leave the flour in place for baking, but tap off before slicing.  Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door.  bake for about 35 minutes until the top crust is deeply browned and very firm. Let cool before slicing or eating.

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