Friday, December 17, 2010

Rustic Italian bread

This was always a 'must do' for me. As much as I love to bake, I'd hate to see my hard work go down the drain if my bread didn't have the right structure, perfect crust and the unforgettable taste that makes one want for more....and I have ruthlessly done so, many many times :P


I have been on a quest to achieve the three things mentioned above in
One bread
. If the texture was right, the crust wasn't 'crusty', right crust had a blah kind of taste. All that came to an end today! A whole week of baking sourdough loaves, perfecting the 'tang' along with the qualities mentioned above has finally put me in my happy place. now, I've moved on to Italian bread, using the recipe below for baguette & french bread & having a sense of pride to accomplishing a bread lover's dream (err...did I forget to say this was my husbands dream more than mine? Yeah, it is, sigh!)

baking doesn't have to be so intimidating. Unlike cooking, baking is an exact formula. Follow it to the tee & you'll amaze yourself like I am. :D

courtesy: Pillsbury bread flour packet
bread flour 3 cups
water( warm 100to 110F) 1 cup
1 packet (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
Olive oil 2 tbs
Sugar 2 tbs
Salt 1/2 tsp
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients [flour, sugar, salt, yeast] together im a large bowl. Add warm water & oil; mix well. Knead dough for 10 mins. I used my stand mixer to save time. Place dough in lightly greased (oil) bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place ( 80 to 85F) for 30 to 40 mins.
After letting the dough rise, punch down the dough & rest on counter for 15 mins. Shape dough into baguette- shaped loaf, about 12" long. Place dough o cornmeal coated sheet pan. Cover, let rise in warm place 35 to 40 mins or until doubled in size.
Heat oven to 375F. With a sharp knife, make 1 deep lengthwise slash on top. brush loaf with beaten egg white. bake for 25 to 35 mins or until loaf sounds hollow when lightly tapped.

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