Vegan Hearth Bread Recipes

Vegan European Peasant Bread

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European Peasant Bread

This bread recipe is adapted from the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day". While the rising and baking of the bread takes more than five minutes, the active work is about that. The great thing about this method is that it eliminates the timing aspect of bread - having to be home in x number of hours to punch down the dough and shape it, etc. One recipe of dough lasts up to 2 weeks. I will usually make 3 loaves out of one batch, but you can size the loaves to whatever is appropriate for your household - just adjust the rise time and baking time depending on how small or large your loaf is. I've added additional wheat flour in this recipe but still use some white flour because I find whole wheat flour to be too heavy. And I've deviated from the original recipe in the baking method, instead using an enameled cast iron pot to cook the bread.

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Vegan European Peasant Bread Recipe

3 cups lukewarm water
1 ½ tablespoons granulated yeast
1 ½ tablespoons Kosher salt
½ cup rye flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ¼ cups white wheat flour

Mix the yeast, salt and water in a 5-quart food-safe plastic container. Add the rye, whole wheat and all-purpose flours and mix with a wooden spoon. Lightly cover the dough and rest it at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, about 2 hours.

Refrigerate the dough and use over the next 14 days. You can use the dough immediately but it’s easier to work with when cold. And the flavor and texture will improve over time.

When ready to bake, preheat the pot with the lid on to 500F (260C) for about 20 minutes. Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound piece (or whatever size you’d like – I usually make three loaves out of one batch of dough). Dust with more flour and shape it into a ball by stretching the outer layers to the bottom, rotating the dough until smooth on all sides. Rest the dough on a piece of parchment for 30 minutes. The dough is forgiving so if it rises longer, it’s not a big deal. Let larger loaves rise longer. Sprinkle the dough with flour and use a serrated knife to cut 1/4″ slits or “scallops” across the top. Very carefully lift the dough and drop it, with paper and all into the preheated pot. Replace the lid. After 15 minutes of baking remove the lid. The dough only needs to bake in the steam for that amount of time. now it is time to get a lovely caramel color to the bread.

Turn the heat down to 450F (232C) and bake for another 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf. If you’re unsure about baking time, use an instant-read thermometer stuck into to middle of the loaf – it should read 200F (93C). Once the loaf is nicely browned, carefully remove it from the pot with a spatula. Peel off the parchment and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

This recipe makes about 3 loaves of Vegan European Peasant Bread.

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