ITALIAN RUSTIC BREAD


I love to make bread.

It feels so good to knead the dough and watch the finished product come out of the oven.

And don’t forget the smell of baking bread!

 

RECIPE FROM: http://www.grouprecipes.com/58220/rustic-italian-bread.html

 

Rising Time: about 2 hours

INGREDIENTS:

 

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 package dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup cornmeal
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

 

METHOD

Sift flour into a large bowl.

Mix in salt by hand.

Move the ingredients to the sides of the bowl, creating a large well in the middle.

Pour the yeast into the well.

Pour 1 cup of lukewarm water over the yeast.

Sprinkle about 1 Tbsp of flour over top.

Wait 10 minutes for bubbles to appear in the yeast.

When bubbles have appeared you can start to mix the ingredients (hands work best, but you can use a mixer) to form the dough.

Gradually incorporate the flour that is on the sides of the bowl.

If it’s too runny or sticky just add a bit more flour at the end.

At this “pre-kneading” stage you should have a round firm ball of dough.

If it’s too sticky add a little more flour.

To knead, remove the bread from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface.

Knead it by pushing your palms into and then turning it one quarter.

Keep kneading and doing quarter turns for about 5-10 minutes until the bread is supple and non-sticky.

Place the bread in a lightly floured bowl and cover with a damp cloth.

Let it rise for about 1 hour until double in size.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Re-sprinkle counter top with flour.

Prepare a baking pan by lightly oiling and sprinkling the bottom with cornmeal.

Place dough on floured surface.

Punch it down once and re-shape it into a loaf.

Put the loaf in the baking pan.

Cover with dish towel and let rise for about 1 hour until double in size.

Coat the top with the beaten egg.

Bake for 30 minutes.

 

Focaccia Bread Recipe:

Follow the recipe above but add 1 cup of mashed potatoes when you are mixing the flour and yeast mixture.

Right before baking coat top with olive oil and sprinkle with course salt.

Bake at 400°F until it is lightly browned.

 

Ciabatta Bread Recipe:

Follow basic Italian bread recipe above.

Add 4 Tbsp olive oil when mixing the flour with the yeast mixture. Form a loaf that is about 1 inch high.

Before baking, sprinkle flour on the top of the loaf.

Bake at 425°F until browned (about 30 minutes).

Olive Bread Recipe:

Follow any of the three bread recipes above .Add 1/2 cup olives at the end of mixing stage.

Follow baking instructions as indicated in each recipe.

*You can use sun-dried tomatoes and shredded parmesan cheese.to create delicious bread. Just add during the mixing stage.

 

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