I have some exciting and delicious recipes to share with you on my food tour of Italy - starting with how to make crusty Italian bread! We'll be using at least one of the loaves in a recipe I'll be sharing with you tomorrow.
I'm using a recipe I found HERE. But, I made a big change to Drew's recipe. I didn't mix it by hand. I used a bread machine instead.
As some of you may know, I've decided to continue on and get a 4-year degree in psychology and classes start today. I don't have an aversion to making bread by hand. It can be quite relaxing, in fact. But I'm finding myself a little short on time at the beginning of a new school year and a new school.
The ingredient measurements in this recipe for Crusty Italian Bread are perfect. I didn't have to adjust anything. I followed the instructions exactly as written, but instead of mixing in a bowl by hand, I used a machine. You can certainly mix by hand, if you prefer. Here are the steps I took using a bread machine:
Crusty Italian Bread
- visit the site above to get the bread recipe!
- mix the yeast with 1/4 cup warm water; let stand until bubbly - about 10 minutes
- add the remaining water to the yeast mixture and pour into the pan of the bread machine
- add the sugar and salt to the yeast/water mixture
- add all of the flour - I used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour
- set the machine cycle to "dough" and started the bread machine
- once the flour has been incorporated into the water, add the olive oil
- double-check the consistency of the dough - you want it to be slightly tacky, but not sticky or dry
- leave the machine to continue through the cycle
- remove the dough from the pan and shape according to the instructions shown HERE (scroll down); I placed the loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet instead of using the peel method
- cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes
- place a small pan (cake pan) on the bottom rack of oven; preheat oven to 425° F
- cut each loaf down the middle with a very sharp blade just before baking
- pour a cup of hot water into the pan on the bottom rack taking care to avoid the steam; bake for 10 minutes at 425° F, reduce temperature to 400° F and bake for another 25-30 minutes (the loaves should sound hollow when tapped)
Enjoy the bread with some flavored dipping oil. You can find a really good recipe HERE. Be sure to save at least one loaf for tomorrow's recipe!