Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rustic Italian Bread

This recipe is from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book and it is not what you would call an easy recipe. I debated for some time if I should post it. First you need a mixing stand or this is just not going to work out. I don't really like to post recipes that involve the investment in such a piece of equipment. But if you already have one then you might as well give this a whirl. Now, you do not need an expensive stand mixer. I have a $80 Sunbeam stand mixer and once you get past the constant shaking it works just fine. I do find that my mixer takes a bit longer so I have used the times that you would encounter for a more expensive type mixer.

This recipe also ideally takes two days to complete because it involves the creation of a sponge for your bread. The recipe also calls for rapid rise or instant yeast, but I used active dry yeast because I buy it in bulk at Costco. For most recipes it can be interchanged and I have never felt that it needed an thing to make it activate like honey or sugar. I am going to list rapid rise or instant in the ingredient list, because this is what is most likely to be available at your grocery store.

2 cups bread flour
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/4 teaspoon rapid raise yeast or instant yeast.

3 to 3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon rapid rise or instant yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees)
2 teaspoons salt
  1. For the sponge: Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the sponge has rise and fallen again, at least 6 hours, but up to 24 hours.
  2. For the dough: Combine 3 cups of the flour and the yeast in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the water and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. You go rest, too.
  3. Remove the plastic wrap, add the sponge and salt. Knead the dough on medium-low speed (or the equivalent on your standing mixer) until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. If after 4 minutes more flour is needed add some of the remaining 1/2 cup, but add it 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand to form a smooth ball. Place the dough in a large oil coated bowl and cover tightly. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  5. Once the dough has risen for 1 hour, turn the dough into itself with a large rubber spatula. Do this once moving it from left to the center, then once right to the center and then the top down to the center. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes more, then repeat the process again until the dough has doubled in size and let rise for another 30 minutes.
  6. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper ( at this point the recipe introduces a baking stone. I do not own a baking stone. SO, I left this out completely). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, press it into a 10-inch square without tearing it, and gently dimple it with your fingertips. Then gently take the top corners of the dough and fold into the middle of the dough (will look like an open envelope). Then gently turn, roll and pinch the dough until it is a torpedo shape. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, seem side down, and gently tuck into a taut loaf. Mist the loaf with cooking spray, cover loosely with cooking spray coated plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size and dough barely springs back when poked with the knuckle. 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Meanwhile adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat the oven to 500°.
  8. Score the top of the loaf of bread with a sharp knife and spray lightly with water. Bake the bread for 10 minutes.
  9. Reduce the oven temp to 400 ° and rotate the bread in the oven. Allow to bake for another 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 210 degrees.
  10. Allow to cool for 2 hours and enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.