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Bacalau and Pepere's Bread

This is one of our favorite recipes for a spring lunch or supper.  Portuguese by origin, but passed on to our family by our French-Canadian Nana and our English Pepere, it has long been a treasured meal.   We usually serve it with Pepere’s Bread, another one of those special recipes my children would just “die for” when they were home.  A meal wasn’t a meal without Pepere’s bread.  We recently served both when my brother and his friend visited from California.  Enjoy!
1 pound salted cod (soak overnight in water)
4-5 large potatoes, sliced thin
3 large onions, slices thin
3 large sweet peppers, any color, sliced or chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, sliced
5 hard boiled eggs
¾ to 1 cup olives
Fresh ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper
Olive oil
Soak fish overnight in cold water; in morning pour out water and rinse thoroughly; cut up filets into bite-size pieces and soak again in fresh water 2 more hours.  Slice potatoes, onions and peppers thinly (or peppers can be chopped; using peppers of various colors makes a very pretty dish).  Oil pan with a generous amount of olive oil (I have a large Calphalon pan about 15 inches in diameter, but any pan about that size with at least 3 inches depth will work).  Layer potatoes, onions, garlic, fish and peppers.  Drizzle with more olive oil and add half the olives.  Repeat layers.  Add some fresh ground pepper and then some crushed red pepper.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half.  Hard boil the eggs and slice while potatoes and fish are baking.  After an hour and a half, remove the cover and arrange the egg slices on top of the dish, all around the pan.  Return to oven without the cover and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes.  Let set for 5 minutes and serve hot with Pepere’s bread.
Pepere’s Bread
1 cup milk, scalded
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons of butter or bacon fat
1 yeast cake or 1 package dry yeast with ¼ to ½ cup warm water
3-4 cups of flour
Melted butter, to brush on top
Scald milk and then add salt, sugar and shortening to a bowl.  Cool.  When lukewarm, add the yeast cake or mixed dry yeast with warm water.  Add flour to make a stiff batter.  Knead until mixture is smooth and elastic.  Put into a greased bowl and brush with melted fat.  Cover and let rise in a warm place.  When almost tripled in size, punch down and let rise again.  When almost back to the tripled size, punch down and put into a greased loaf pan and let rise a third time.  When dough has risen above the top of pan, brush lightly with more melted fat and bake in oven at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until golden and bread sounds hollow to the tap.  Remove from pan and let rest on a rack to cool.   Recipe can be easily doubled to make two loaves.

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