That’s Amore (Bread)

March 3, 2008

Yup, another bread recipe. I have only had this blog up for about 5 weeks, and this make 4 breads… and I have another that I’ll put up tomorrow 🙂  

Let me assure you, I don’t normally make bread quite this often but I have been having a lot of fun with it this year so just bear with me. I won’t tell you again just how much I love bread. I promise not to write a song or wax poetical on my loaves. I will just share this recipe that I found on The Fresh Loaf. And tempt you with pictures of course.

italian bread 

This is yet another that doesn’t really call for kneading (I did knead this batch, but looking at his pictures I think I did a little much…oh well, it’s fun) but I think my imagination is just too good because his description of this bread “…It is the perfect spongy bread for mopping up pasta sauces…” made it irresistible. This one is not french bread, but it is definitely an Italian bread and great with your favorite Italian dish.

I finally have instant yeast so I used that for this batch. If you want to use active dry yeast, use about 20% more and make sure to activate it in warm water before hand.

Italian Bread
Source: The Fresh Loaf

Preferment:
1 cup warm water
1 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough:
All of the preferment
5 cups bread flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water

The night before: mix the flour, water and yeast for the preferment in a bowl and cover with saran wrap. Leave at room temperature over night until it rises (very bubbly!) and falls again.

The next day, mix the preferment, water, olive oil, yeast, salt,  sugar and dry milk in a bowl with 2 cups flour. Mix thoroughly. Mix or knead in the rest of the flour a handful at a time until you have a slack but not sticky dough.

Place the dough in a well-greased bowl, grease the top of the dough and cover the bowl with saran wrap or a towel. Allow to rise about 2 hours or until doubled. This will be a huge ball of dough so make sure your bowl is big enough.

dough rising

Punch the dough down, flip it over in the bowl and let rise again for half an hour.  Remove the dough fro the bowl and divide in half. Shape the dough into logs or balls and cover with a damp towel. Allow to relax for 20 minutes.

Shape the dough into it’s final shape. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise another hour or until doubled. Preheat oven to 425F. Put cookie sheet in oven about 5 minutes before you’re ready to bake them.

Place one loaf of the dough on a sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel or sheet of stiff cardboard, cut slits into the dough, brush with water and carefully slide onto the cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet then bake for another 20 minutes or until a thermometer reads approximately 200F.

Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter. Allow to cool before diving in. Enjoy 🙂

italian bread

Next time I am gonna try not to knead it so much, but I am really getting the hang of shaping the bread by hand. Horray! I love this stuff 🙂

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