Friday, January 18, 2013

Rustic Italian Bread

I found this recipe while searching for a bread recipe to make with Manicotti I had in the freezer.  This recipe looked easy enough.  It WAS easy and tasted great.  I did the two rises since I had the time and am glad I did.  It looked dense after the first rise and letting it rise again did make it less dense.  Kathleen made her famous Garlic Butter for the bread

Rustic Italian Bread

1 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Sesame Seeds (optional for the top)

1. In a bowl add 1 cup of warm water and dry active yeast and let it stand until creamy (about 5 minutes). In another bowl add flour, salt, and sugar. After 5 minutes take the yeast and give it a mix then add it to the flour mixture mixing it in with a fork until sticky. Sprinkle with a bit more flour and work it with your hands to make a ball.
2. Take the ball of dough and gently mold it into a smooth ball but firm but with an elastic fill.
3. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise. This could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Once it rises take a little more flour and pat it down and roll it into a ball again.
5. {OPTIONAL} Put the dough back into the bowl and let it rise 1 more time. When you let the bread rise twice it really makes for a better bread but if you are short on time then don’t worry about it.
6. After you are done with all the rising you will take the dough and put it on the parchment paper that is on a baking tray. The dough should be elongated and oval-shaped, with tapered and rounded (not pointed) ends. Note: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
7. Take about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and coat the dough with it. This will make it nice and crunchy on the outside.
8. After you rub it down with olive oil you can sprinkle a bit of sea salt or sesame seeds on top.
9. Next slash the top of the dough with a sharp knife at a 45 degree angle.
10. Bake 30 minutes, until you hear a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.
Allow the bread to cool slightly before serving, and enjoy!

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