Sunday, November 10, 2013

Italian Bread




This bread turned out way better than I was hoping. It was a last minute addition when I made the Carmine’s sauce. I ended up using one loaf for garlic bread and the other disappeared throughout the day as we prepared other things. It had a perfect crust that was still chewy and soft on the inside. It smells amazing as you bake it and you need to make two loaves because you will be eating it as soon as you can. The rising times are pretty dependant on the temperature of your kitchen and how hungry your yeast is. I ended up letting mine rise for about 2.5 – 3 hours total. It did rise in the oven as well. 



 
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 3/4 tsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ~5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg (optional)


Directions:

For this I used our stand mixer but it would be easy to do by hand. In a separate bowl, add the sugar and yeast to the water and let proof. Once the yeast and sugar have doubled in size add it to the mixer with 4.5 cups of flour, the salt and egg, and then beat until smooth, if is looking wet add additional flour. When I was looking around for the base of an Italian bread recipe I didn’t find any with the egg. As I was putting it together Jess casually mentioned that her Nonna always made the best bread and would always add an egg so I chucked it in and we ended up with amazing bread.  Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. After it rests knead until smooth (I am not sure if this is needed but I think if you make something like fresh bread you need to get your hands on it). Turn it into a greased bowl, cover, and let double in size. Once doubled, punch down and divide into two. Place back in the bowl, cover, and let rise. Once doubled again, punch down and form into two loaves. If you want to be fancy slice some “artisan” bread lines in the top (I think this keeps the loaf from cracking as well). Put on a parchment covered cookie sheet and cover with a towel and let rise. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C.  I put a dish full of water in the bottom of the oven so that it would be steamy. I baked mine for 20 – 30 min. Try not to open the oven door while it is baking because it will let all the steam out. It is done when it’s golden brown.



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