Brother Juniper's Cajun Pepper Bread
- Ready In:
- 3hrs 40mins
2 1-1/2 lb loaves
- 8 cups high-gluten bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 3⁄4 cup uncooked polenta (coarse, not cornmeal)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes (or 3 tbsp chopped fresh)
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic (or 3 tbsp crushed fresh)
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons active dry yeast (proofed in 4 tbsp warm water)
- 4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1⁄2 cup diced red bell pepper (I usually use the TJ pepper medley)
- 4 tablespoons louisiana hot pepper sauce (often use half this amount for milder mouths) or 4 tablespoons Tabasco sauce (often use half this amount for milder mouths)
- 2 1⁄2 cups water
- In a bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients along with the proofed yeast and the peppers. Add the liquid ingredients. Do not add all the water - reserve 1/2 cup for adjustments during kneading. I usually do this in my stand mixer until it forms a ball.
- When the mixture has formed into a ball, turn it out onto a floured surface/bread board and knead it for 10-12 minutes. Add water or flour as needed, until a smooth, elastic dough is formed. The dough should be tacky but not sticky.
- Clean the bowl and return the dough to it, covering it with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for approximately 1-1/2 hours, to approximately double the size. I let mine rise in the oven with only the pilot light on (don't turn the oven on). For sandwich loaves, form them now in greased bread pans. For free-standing loaves, punch the dough down and let it rise again.
- To form free-standing loaves, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 2, 3 or 4 pieces. [[Halving the dough makes for a fairly large loaf, so I often do 3 or 4.]] Flatten and shape the dough into a rectangle (as best you can) then fold the top and the bottom thirds in toward the center. Crimp the seam with your fingers so it will not open up. If the dough is too tough to work with, cover it and allow it rest for 3-5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle a pan with polenta to prevent sticking, but do not oil the pan or it will get too brown. Place the loaf, seam-side down, on the pan. Let rise, covered, for 30 minutes, then bake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf makes a thwack/hollow sound. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into loaf, if you can -- .
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