I woke up this morning with a vicious cold, and I want bread. The only bread I have on hand is half a loaf of stale bread, one of the loaves I made on the weekend. I want nice thick crusty bread that I didn't have to start yesterday (remember, I'm terrible at planning ahead).
Also, I'm looking for an excuse to use one of the two new ceramic bowls I bought yesterday for breadmaking:
I found a recipe for Italian bread in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book Of Breads, if you want the original recipe or the directions for using a mixer or food processor I urge you to pick up a copy of the book. It is well worth the cost.
Pain Italianmakes 2 "husky 2 lb" loaves
1 tbs salt
1 tbs dark honey, I used alfalfa
1/2 cup dry milk powder
16 gr active dry yeast (I didn't use instant, but I suppose you could)
3 cups warm water (105F-115F)
8 cups read or all purpose unbleached flour
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Combine salt, honey, dry milk powder, yeast and warm water in a large bowl (one that can hold a triple rising of 8 cups of flour). Stir to dissolve honey, salt and yeast.
Add the oil to the honey/milk/yeast mixture and stir. Add 4 cups of flour, one at a time, stirring to combine. I used a whisk and it was fine. After the last addition, beat for about 5-10 minutes. You do not have to beat continuously!
Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing to combine. You can use your hands or a bowl scraper when the whisk or spoon no longer works.
When dough hold together, turn out onto a kneading surface. Dough will be soft and warm to the touch, and elastic.
Knead for 10 minutes, occasionally throwing the dough down hard on the kneading surface.
Grease your large bowl. Return the dough to the greased bowl, turning once to coat the dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let rise 2 hours, or until TRIPLE IN SIZE.
When triple, degas the dough. Turn the dough over, recover the bowl and let rise 30 minutes more.
Turn out onto your kneading surface, knead briefly to press out bubbles. Divide dough into two equal balls. Use a scale for complete accuracy. Let rest 20 minutes.
Shape the dough in to boules (balls), or batardes or baguettes. I chose baguettes.
Place shaped dough on baking sheets, cover loosely with a towel. The air should be able to get to the loaves to form a light crust.
Let rise for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425F 20 minutes before baking.
Score loaves, and spray or brush with water. You do not need a steam tray for this recipe.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown and bottom crust sound hollow when tapped.
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