French Peasant Bread
Adapted from Favorites: a Collection of Favorite Ivory Family Recipes
This is the perfect bread recipe for a beginner bread baker. There is no kneading. I make this bread frequently, and the result is always the same: a soft, rustic loaf with a delicious, chewy crust.
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 T sugar
2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
desired toppings, optional (sprinkle with garlic salt, a combination of rosemary and coarse salt, or garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Experiment.)
Fill a large mixing bowl with hot water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Pour out water and dry bowl. Place yeast, water, sugar, and salt in the warmed bowl. Stir until dissolved. Add flour and stir until blended. Do not knead. Cover and let rise one hour or until doubled in size. Flour hands, remove dough from the bowl and shape into two rounds. Place rounds on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal. Let rise an additional hour. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with desired topping. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush again with melted butter. Serve warm.