Saturday, September 03, 2005

Italian Bread

1 package active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups water
1 Tbsp. coarse cornmeal*

Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees). Mix well and let stand 5 minutes.

Mix flour and salt together. In large bowl, combine dissolved yeast and 1 1/4 cups water. Slowly add flour mixture, stirring well after each addition, to form a stiff dough.

Turn out on floured board and knead 10-15 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until smooth and elastic (I used my mixer with dough hooks for about the same amount of time, and added flour until it wasn't too sticky).

Place in greased bowl and rotate to coat surface of dough. Cover and let rise in warm place 1-2 hours or until double in bulk. Punch down.

Preheat oven to 400.

Lightly flour a smooth surface. Toss dough with flour until no longer sticky. Divide into 2 parts.

Roll each part with a rolling pin to a 12x8" rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll fashion, beginning with a 12" side, to form a long loaf. Pinch edges to seal. Taper ends of loaf by rolling between the palms of the hands.

Sprinkle a large baking sheet with cornmeal*. Place loaves on baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (1-2 hours).

With a razor blade (I used a sharp knife) make 3 diagonal slits in the surface of the loaf. With a spray bottle, mist loaves with water.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400. Reduce heat to 350, mist loaves with water again, and bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool on rack.

(*I did not have any cornmeal. I just baked it on a Pampered Chef stoneware bar pan and it was great)

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Good crusty, chewy bread


1 comment:

Jesse Beach said...

thanks for the recipe. I'm in the middle of making it at the moment. It seems like a slightly wetter dough than pizza dough. I'm also curious to see what the lack of oil will do. I usually put 2 Tbs in pizza dough. Perhaps that's what results in the flaky crust and soft center?