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French Peasant Bread

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An easy bread that can be made and on the table in an hour.
From Bear in Houston

2 cups warm water
1 package dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 to 5 cups flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Italian seasonings

Preheat oven to 80 degrees and turn off. In a warmed bowl of water, 115-120 degrees, dissolve yeast, sugar and salt. Add flour and stir in until a ball is formed.

Knead dough a little on a floured surface. Shape into a ball.

Sprinkle cornmeal on baking sheet in at least an 8-inch- or 9-inch-diameter circle. Oil hands, pick up dough and oil the dough ball. Place on large baking sheet; a pizza pan works well.

Sprinkle dough with Italian seasonings. Cover with light cotton towel and let rise until almost doubled in bulk in the warmed but off oven for 15 minutes before taking out of oven.

Turn oven on to 425 degrees. When oven is ready and/or the bread is now doubled in bulk, bake the bread for 10 minutes. Then reduce to 375 degrees and continue baking for another 20 minutes. Makes 1 loaf.

The following are variations:

To the warm water in which the sugar, salt and yeast are dissolved, add your choice of spices - basil, minced garlic or garlic powder, onion powder or "anything you like in the bread" to complement your meal.

While kneading, add Cheddar cheese (toss in a little flour if grated, or just add store-bought shredded), sauteed onions, slightly reconstituted dehydrated tomatoes with basil, chopped bacon "or anything you like" to complement your meal. Sprinkle poppy seeds, sesame seeds or Italian seasonings, or place thinly sliced tomatoes or chopped onions or other items you might like to the top of the bread before baking.