Frances McCullough is an accomplished baker, caterer and food truck operator. She can be found weekday mornings serving up pastries and breakfast burritos in the Gringo Grub truck at the corner of Route 11 and Lima. She’ll be sharing recipes with CNM News readers every month!
This is the easiest bread recipe you’ll ever make! It’s a fantastic beginner’s recipe for anyone intimidated by breadmaking since it’s one pot and no-knead. But it’s tasty and challenging enough for longtime bakers as well since you can use it as a base for lots of different flavor additions, like rosemary, cheese or olives.
Growing up, my grandma made this bread all winter long because it goes well with hearty soups and stews. You can make it into individual soup bowls or just tear off chunks of it from the center of the table like we did.
While this bread recipe gained in popularity during the depression, it’s roots are in the peasant breads of Central Europe. When my grandmother taught me to make it, she’d already tweaked the recipe from her mother’s recipe (GG stands for “Great Grandma”). I made a couple more changes to modernize it, including the addition of instant yeast to cut down on time and increase consistency. I also recommend using an oven-safe glass bowl since most people no longer have crockery.
While you are letting the bread rise (“proofing” it) you can expect your home to fill with the scent of delicious yeastiness. But PLEASE—whatever you do—do NOT put your proofed dough into a cold oven! Preheating is a very important step and you will not achieve good results on this recipe if you do not preheat first.
GG Dunn Peasant Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt (Kosher works best)
2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons yeast (bread machine/instant)
Mix all dry ingredients and add water.
Grease 2 quart crockery bowl or oven safe glass with butter. Place dough in bowl and cover with a warm towel (or plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray).
Let rise 1 ½ hours in a warm place. Punch down and pull sides and allow to rise again for 30 minutes, uncovered, on top of a warm stove.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (don’t skip this step!).
Bake 15 minutes, reduce oven to 375 and bake another 15 minutes. Glaze top with butter.
Take out of oven, cool and enjoy!