Giving Away Her Bread (Secrets) – Peggy Calhoun!

Giving Away Her Bread (Secrets) – Peggy Calhoun!

Donna- “I’d like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Peggy Calhoun for her article on bread baking.  She presented this in such a way that even a true beginner could bake a loaf of bread.  Her pictures will make your mouth water.”

Author – Peggy Calhoun

I was inspired to make bread when my favorite little bakery went out of business.  They made the most wonderful tomato basil baguettes and asiago cheese bread.

I was bound and determined to make my own bread for over a five year period with no luck.  This bread baking was just too complicated…or was it?

Finally, a friend suggested it was about the easiest thing you could do in the kitchen.  Just toss all your ingredients into a bowl, stir it up, knead it, let it rise, punch it down and shape, let it rise again and bake.

Here is my basic recipe which is easily altered.  This may not be the correct way, but we like it and this is what we eat!


Basic Bread

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 TBSP Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 TBSP active dry yeast
1 TBSP steel cut oats (for baking sheet or pans)
non-stick baking spray
melted butter

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt, water and yeast.  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  If dough is too sticky add more flour.  If dough is too dry add more water.

On a lightly flour dusted board, knead dough 7-10 minutes.  Use the heel of your hand to squish, push forward, and fold.  Rotate the dough and repeat squish, push forward, and fold.  The dough will change in texture and become smooth.  Shape into a ball form, and return to bowl.  Cover and let rise about 45 minutes until doubled in size.

Punch dough down with your fist and shape.  This recipe will make two baguettes, two loaf pans, one round or football shaped, or one batch of dinner rolls.

Prepare your baking sheet with baking spray and 1 TBSP steel cut oats sprinkled on it (this will give a nutty flavor and coating to bottom).  Place loaves on baking sheet or in loaf pans, let rise another 45 minutes until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a very sharp knife or blade to make four diagonal scores on top about 2″ apart. Bake 25-27 minutes.  During the last 5 minutes, brush tops with melted butter.  Bread should be brown and crusty, sounding hollow inside when tapped with finger.  During baking, if your bread smells like it is burning, do not be alarmed.  This smell is your steel cut oats toasting.  Do not open oven door while baking as you will get a sudden drop in temperature.  Remove bread to cooling racks when done baking.



Tomato Basil Baguettes:  Add 3 TBSP tomato puree and 1 TBSP fresh basil, finely chopped or 2 tsp dry basil.  Shape into two baguettes.  Cook side by side on baking sheet.

Asiago Cheese Bread:  Add 1/2 cup Asiago cheese by incorporating into dough after first rise while punching down and shaping.

Chocolate Cocoa Bread:  Add 1/4 cup cocoa and 2 TBSP of sugar.  This is my grandchildren’s favorite, toasted and topped with strawberry cream cheese.

Olive Loaf:  Add 1/2 cup sliced black olives after first rise.

Dinner Rolls:  Make 11-12 dough balls and place in a sprayed oval baking dish side by side for pull apart rolls.

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9 thoughts on “Giving Away Her Bread (Secrets) – Peggy Calhoun!

  1. Donna

    Peggy – When’s dinner? 😉

  2. Your bread sounds delicious and easy to make. Compliments to you Peggy for your wonderful bread and you Donna for great taste on your ‘star’!

  3. Donna B.

    Peggy, have you ever used your KitchenAid stand mixer to knead the bread? Or how about putting it into a bread machine make the dough and baking it in the oven once it rises again?

  4. Great job on your blog Donna! This recipe works easy for me. I do have the dough hook, but find it easy to knead by hand and quite soothing!

    1. Donna

      That was Donna B…didn’t know if you thought Donna B. was me, but seems I’ve met more Donnas cooking than anywhere! Is that saying something about what’s in a name?

      Peggy – I keep looking at those pictures, and I think you did a great job. I’m sure someone at your house is thrilled to have that bread buffet.

  5. I am totally impressed with all this great information! I may even try some of this myself….even though I am a bit intimidated because no electrical appliance was used in the making of this bread… :))) These are great step-by-step instructions. Thanks!

  6. Perri Pender

    WOW you make it sound easy! The pictures are fabulous! Great job. Need to figure out how to print this info out??

  7. Perri Pender

    Where do I find Steel cut oats?

  8. It really isn’t that difficult to knead by hand! Steel cut oats really give a unique nutty flavor and can be found in any bulk section of your supermarket! I think making bread is more of a waiting process, rather than the prep time involved! My 12 year old granddaughter learned this method quickly, and now bakes bread for her family on a weekly basis!

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