Pepin's bread


 This bread recipe by Jacque Pepin is probably the simplest and easiest way of baking a rustic, country style, moist and possibly colourful  loaf of bread that will stay fresh for longer than your usual bakes. The only special requirement is to mix it and bake it in a non-stick 3 litre pot. I say special requirement, as obviously you can use any other baking dish, but the dough has to be transferred from pot to pot, and the dish must be oiled and it won't be a one pot bread any more! If you fancy trying it that way, have a go. I happened to have the right size non-stick oven safe saucepan, but made the bread twice before I got it right! Ok, before you laugh at me for saying it's the easiest bread in the World, and then failing to make it right the first time, hear me out! I just got my measurements wrong. The original recipe is given in cups, I converted it into grams ( I have cups, but after so many years of dealing in the metric system it gives me the feeling that I know what I am doing, with cups I am never sure whether I got it right) and  halved it, as it seemed to be too much for one loaf. Well, two things I did wrong : first, confused the liquid amount for the flour amount, and when I ended up with the "pancake batter", it was not the same recipe any more, I just made something up by adding more flour to it. The second, I broke the golden rule - when you are trying something new, follow the recipe fully, see what you end up and then change what you don't like. 
My second attempt was an effortless success, as meant to be. But, here I am giving you the result of my third and most successful strive, where the dough was enriched with some herbs, spring onions, olives and a bit of a roasted pepper to equally please the eyes and the taste buds. 

Pepin's bread

600 gr/ 4 cups flour
625 ml/ 2 1/2 cups tepid water (usually obtained by mixing 2 parts of cold and 1 part of hot water)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry yeast

In an oven safe, non-stick pot mix all the ingredients. If you wish, you can add a handful of finely chopped parsley, thyme, spring onions, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 roast red pepper pat dried and chopped, stoned, drained  and sliced olives, or some other ingredient of your choice. Combine thoroughly, put the lid on and leave to rise at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes.
When risen, mix again, deflate, put the lid back on and place in a refrigerator over night for 12 to 14 hours.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 230 C/ 450 F/ gas mark 7, take the dough out and "decorate" with fresh parsley leaves, red pepper and olive rings, sun-dried tomatoes etc....
 Bake for 40 minutes, leave to cool in the pot for 5 minutes before moving it to a cooling rack. Enjoy it fresh, toasted, grilled, sandwiched, cut into strips to dip into olive oil and balsamic vinegar, again it's yours to choose!  

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