Sunday, November 1, 2009

Holy Cow, I Made Bread!

A few weeks ago I went to a dinner party. I brought along a hostess gift, a loaf of pugliese bread. A couple of days later, the hostess came up to me and said, "That bread was so good!" I could tell she thought I made it. I felt a little guilty. I confessed that the bread was store bought. But this little encounter got me thinking, "Why don't I try to make some sort of italian bread?"

So I did. And I must tell you, ladies, it was empowering. I felt like Tom Hanks in the movie "Castaway" when he builds a fire. "I...have made fire. I! I! Have made fire." Only this was over a couple of loaves of italian.

And the best part? It was EASY!

The Ingredients:
3 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons cornmeal

The Steps:

1. Combine brown sugar, water, salt, olive oil and yeast in a bowl. Let sit for ten minutes to get kinda fluffy.

2. Begin incorporating your flour. I transferred my yeast mixture to my mixer and, using the dough hook attachment, began mixing the flour in that way. I used all the flour and then some, mixing until the dough pulled away from the sides of the bowl. It mixed for about 10 minutes or so while I added the flour.

3. When dough forms a ball, place in an oiled bowl and let rise for about 60 minutes, or until double.

Before rising.

After rising.

4. When dough has doubled, turn out onto floured surface and form into two loaves. Place loaves on a pizza stone or baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover with clean, damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled. Sometime during that hour, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

5. When loaves have doubled in size (I think mine could have risen a little while longer), combine beaten egg and water. Make a quick slash in the top of your loaves with a sharp knife, then baste with the egg and water mixture. *For a crispier crust, spritz loaves lightly with water about 3 times during baking.*

6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes and, voila, my dears, you have made yourself some mighty fine italian bread. And that's nothing to shake a stick at.

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Madeline and Family said...

And that bread was awesome! This bread looks equally awesome. Have you tried to put whole garlic cloves in it? Maybe you did and I read over that part. Not bad for someone who has a loaf in her own oven ;).

Rachael and Family said...

that bread looks good, and I like that you don't need a bread pan.

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