I don’t really have anything against Valentines Day. I like red & pinks hearts, I like chocolate, I like flowers (but not roses. I think they’re ugly). But none of those things mean love to me.
You know what does though? Spending time with the people I love. And homemade bread. Homemade bread just tastes like love, doesn't it?
So that’s what I’m doing today. Baking really good bread, and sharing it. With my family, and you too!
Happy Valentines Day!
European Peasant Bread
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Makes four 1 pound loaves
3 Cups lukewarm water
1 1⁄2 Tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1⁄2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
1⁄2 Cup rye flour
1⁄2 Cup whole wheat flour
5 1⁄2 Cups unbleached all purpose flour
Cornmeal for dusting the peel
Mixing and storing the dough: Mix yeast and salt with water in a 5 qt. bowl or lidded (not airtight) food container.
Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading. You may have to use your hands to get the last bit of flour mixed in.
Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), about 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, although it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in the lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 14 days.
On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour, and cut off a 1-pound piece (grapefruit-size). 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.
Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450°F, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.
Sprinkle the loaf liberally with flour and slash a cross, "scallop," or tic-tac-toe pattern on the top, using a serrated bread knife. Leave the flour in place for baking; tap some of it 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 or until the top crust is deeply browned and very firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time.