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Quick and easy dinner ideas; French peasant bread and easy crouton recipe

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I have always avoided baking that involved yeast, until my friend Tracey Calderon turned me on to this easy, delicious bread recipe. This simple bread making process requires no kneading and makes the best croutons the following day.

Ingredients and directions:
2 cups lukewarm water
1 package dry yeast
1 T. sugar
2 t. salt
4 cups bread flour (but all-purpose will do)
1 T. cornmeal
Melted butter

In large bowl:

  1. Combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt: stir until dissolved.
  2. Stir in bread flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured plate.
  3. Clean the bowl and grease with butter.
  4. Return the dough to the bowl; cover with a damp towel and allow approximately 45 minutes in a warm place for the dough to rise / or until it doubles in bulk.

Prepare a baking sheet:

  1. Liberally grease the baking sheet.
  2. Sprinkle it with the cornmeal.
  3. Flour hands; divide dough into two parts; shape each one into an oblong loaf; DO NOT knead.
  4. Place both loaves on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Allow the loaves to rise another 45 minutes until nearly doubled.

Baking instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter.
  3. Bake 10 minutes; then reduce temperature to 375 degrees F.
  4. Bake 20 minutes longer and remove from the oven.
  5. Brush the loaves with butter while they are still hot.
  6. Cool, slice, serve, and enjoy.

For croutons:

  1. Set aside one loaf for croutons; best if the loaf is set aside overnight.
  2. For complete instructions on how to prepare the croutons, click on the link in this sentence.
  3. These are excellent served with the Traycaesar Garlic Salad [click here for complete recipe].
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