Whole Wheat Peasant Bread (NO KNEAD!)
I've been really frustrated this past year trying to keep up with a super busy schedule, work, volunteer activities, yard/garden, housework, cooking from scratch and too much travel. I just haven't had much time to make bread for a while. I've been making my own bread with a bosch mixer for years--since I was 9 years old--so it's not like I don't know how. But somehow when you are busy, the thought of hauling the bosch out of the cupboard, making 5 loaves of bread, waiting for it to knead, etc. then cleaning up all the mess is just a lot of work!
Worse yet, I teach cooking classes on how to use vegetables, fruits and whole grains. But when I taught a breadmaking class, no one had a mixer and no one wanted to knead bread by hand, so they enjoyed my loaf of bread and went home and never made it! Ugh... Then a few months ago I discovered a very simple French Peasant Bread recipe that I totally fell in love with. It uses two things--a bowl and a wood spoon. One batch makes two loaves and you DON'T KNEAD THE DOUGH! Better yet, you plop both balls of dough onto one cookie sheet and let them raise as round "artisan" loaves!
The recipe called for white flour, so I started experimenting with whole wheat flour. They turned out ok with hard red wheat, but when I tried it with White Wheat (yes, that's whole wheat, but a lighter color grain) the results were even more amazing! Then I tried adding raisins and apples and nuts and spices to it... but that's another recipe (be sure and check out the Raisin Peasant Bread recipe!! It's totally unreal and SOOO tasty--you can eat it with nothing on it!). Then I tried making it into dinner rolls and adding olive oil, minced garlic, and herbs to it..... yes yes, that's another recipe too... sigh. (Ok, be sure to check out the garlic dinner rolls recipe next! lol I've never tasted such amazing dinner rolls in all my life!). Ok, I'm supposed to be telling you how to make a simple loaf of whole wheat peasant bread! But I think you get the idea on how versitile this bread dough is. I used this same plain wheat dough for pizza crust and you can use it for sweet roll dough too. Pull out a bowl and a wood spoon and have fun playing around!!
MIX yeast, water, sweetener, oil, and salt into bowl.
ADD two cups flour and mix gently.
ADD one - two cups flour or as needed to make a sticky dough consistency. (Use less if not using oil or applesauce)
SET aside for 15 minutes to allow flour to absorb and for the dough to start rising.
DIVIDE into two loaves with well floured hands.
PLOP both blobs of dough onto an oiled cookie sheet, one on each side.
RISE until double while cookie sheet is sitting on the stove.
PREHEAT oven to 425F while bread is rising--the heat will speed up the process and then your oven will be hot when the bread is ready.
BAKE at 400F for 10 minutes.
REDUCE heat to 375F and bake for 15-20 more minutes, or until golden.
REMOVE from oven and cool on a rack.