Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Czech Peasant Bread - Chleb


Cornbread Supperian Michael Kennedy often provides this popular bread, and now has shared the recipe. Thank you, Michael!


Recipe (revised) -- courtesy of Richard Henry

Makes four loaves of three+ pounds each. (Adjust volume as you wish.)

In a metal or glass (not plastic) measuring cup put 1 teaspoon sugar and two packets (4 tablespoons) active dry yeast. Fill cup half full of warm (not hot) water. Let yeast rise to the top of the cup. While this is occurring:

In a very, very large bowl (this stuff rises a lot) mix the following:

8 cups white bread flour
8 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare four cups liquid, including the cup of yeast water, a cup of honey (optional), and the rest water. (If you use honey stir it in thoroughly with the rest of the liquid.)

Pour liquid into mixture and stir it up.

Add 5 to 7 more cups of water, stirring it in as needed. Mixture should be between glutinous and gloppy in consistency. (Not like regular bread dough -- more like stiff cake batter.)

Cover mixture (plastic bag? bowl cover?) and allow to sit in a warm place for about six to seven hours. It can go as long as ten hours. (I heat up the oven for a bit, then turn the heat off, and put the bowl in.)

After it has risen, if you wish, toss in one to two pounds of chopped dried fruit and nuts: raisins, walnuts, apricots, dates, etc -- whatever you have on hand. (Preheat the oven to 375F while you add the extras and put the batter into the bread pans (sprayed with Pam or other oil).

Turn batter into four Pam-ed or greased standard bread pans. It will come about 3/4ths the way up and rise from there.

Bake in 375F oven for one hour and 40 minutes. Allow 1/2 hour for the loaves to cool on a rack after removing from the pans.

You will need a good bread knife. One or two slices w/ good olive oil or butter in the A.M. is a full breakfast. With the honey, fruit, and nuts a slice (1/15th of a loaf) is about 280 calories (or, I think, 5 Weight Watcher points).

A loaf in a Zip-Loc bag freezes well.


Version: 20 March 2011
Michael Kennedy

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