Friday, January 31, 2014

Nonna Bread


On family vacations Jess's Nonna would produce an ongoing supply of fresh bread to feed the hordes of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and immediate family member gobs/mouths. In the 12 or so years since we have been together I have heard a never ending story of how amazing "Nonna's" bread was and how it disappeared faster than French Fries at Fat Camp. After a meal at Jess's folks place I decided that we should track down the recipe and see if I could bring back a little of the magic.
As an outsider that never tasted "the goods" I figured I would be an impartial judge of the difference between nostalgia and the "real deal". I was prepared to make the bread and prove that their memories were raising the myth of the bread beyond the reality of a little salt, yeast, flour and water mixed together. It turns out I couldn't have been further from the truth. This is easily the best bread that has ever crossed my lips! The crust, texture, flavour, density and any other descriptive word was perfect. We finished most of a loaf  right out of the oven and then incorporated it in into every meal until it was gone. It is great as a thick slab coated in peanut butter or as a normal slice of bread in a sandwich.

Ingredients:

Yeast mixture:
  • 1 tbsp dry active yeast
  • 3/4 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp flour
Dough mixture:
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • ~ 2 cups warm water
Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the yeast, sugar, and water.
  2. After a couple minutes stir in the flour and let the mixture double in size.
  3. In a stand mixer (or large bowl) combine the dough ingredients and add the yeast mixture.
  4. Knead, with a dough hook or by hand, for about 10 min or until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise until it has doubled ~40 min.
  6. Punch down and then separate in to two greased loaf pans and let rise again ~1.5 hours.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 min.
Pull it out of the oven and try not to bite your fingers as you stuff it down your throat.


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