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Old 02-18-2006, 10:06 AM   #1
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ISO Best Italian Bread Recipe

I need one that rises huge, with a hard crust, but soft on the inside. Please tell me the recipe, temperture, what you did, etc. I dont know if it's my kneading technique, I knead it little at first, let it rise, than punch it down, let it rise again, shape it, let it re-rise for like 10 minutes.

I think it's my recipe, tell me everything please, I want to get this down for tomorrow dinner. Help me out. Much thanks amore compadres.

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Old 02-18-2006, 11:13 AM   #2
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Italian Bread
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
8 cups all-purpsose flour, stir before measuring
butter
yellow corn meal
1 tablespoon water
1 egg white
1 tablespoon salt



Pour warm water into a warm mixing bowl; sprinkle with the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in about 2 cups of the flour. Beat well; add salt and gradually beat in all but about 2 cups of the flour. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and cover with a clean dish towel; let rest 10 minutes. Knead by hand for 20 minutes or until dough is very elastic, kneading in as much of the remaining flour as necessary for smooth dough. Place dough in a lightly buttered bowl, turning to grease all of the dough surface.
Cover bowl with foil then cover with a dish cloth and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down and let rise to double again, about 1 hour longer. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half and form each portion into a ball. Cover with dish cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half of the dough into a 15x8-inch rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Roll up tightly, starting with short side, sealing as you roll. Taper ends by rolling out with hands until loaf is 10 to 11 inches long. Place loaves seam side down on buttered baking dishes which have been sprinkled with yellow cornmeal. Add 1 tablespoon of water to egg white in a bowl and beat lightly; brush over and along sides of loaves. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth without touching dough -- place glasses or cups around loaves and place towels on them. Place pans in in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk. Place a shallow pan on bottom rack of oven; fill with boiling water. Bake loaves in center of oven preheated to 375° for 20 minutes. Brush with egg white mixture again and continue baking for 20 minutes longer, or until well-browned and done.
here is a couple great sites: http://www.baking911.com/bread/101_intro.htm

http://www.thatsmyhome.com/recipes/b...aking-tips.htm

and here is a great thread off this site about bread making:
http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...ght-18779.html

Good luck!

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Old 02-18-2006, 12:30 PM   #3
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This is the most successful Italian bread recipe I have ever used, and I am from a Sicilian family, in an Italian neighborhood in Western New York, that has an Italian bakery on practically every block. This recipe even works in California, where the water is supposedly not alkaline enough to make good Italian bread.


ITALIAN BREAD

Starter:

1 1/2 cups warm (105F) water
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour (preferred) or all-purpose flour


Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl and mix in a Kitchen Aid mixer, with a dough hook, on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes until a stiff, elastic batter is formed. Divide the starter into two equal pieces. Wrap one piece in oiled plastic wrap and freeze for later use. Place the remaining starter into an oiled glass bowl, cover, and allow to rise until triple in volume. This should take about 8 hours at room temperature or at least 14 hours in the refrigerator.

Bread Dough:

1 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm (105F) water
1 cup cool water
Starter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups bread flour (preferred) or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbs kosher salt


Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl and stir with a fork to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add the cool water and starter to the yeast mixture and mix by hand for about 2 minutes, breaking up the starter, until the starter is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture into the Kitchen Aid bowl, and, using a dough hook at low speed, add the flour and salt, scraping the sides of the bowl, until the dough gathers into a mass. The dough should be wet and sticky with long strands of dough hanging from the hook. Increase mixer speed to medium low and allow to knead for about 5 minutes, until it pulls completely away from the sides of the bowl and wraps itself around the dough hook. Move the dough to a work surface lightly dusted with flour and shape the dough into a ball. Allow the dough to rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Knead the dough by hand for 3 to 5 minutes, until it is stretchy and smooth yet still slightly sticky. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly oiled glass bowl, cover the bowl with oiled plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size.

Place the dough onto a well-floured work surface. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and shape into baguettes for bread, or into balls smaller than a tennis ball for rolls. Place the loaves or rolls on a heavily floured surface leaving plenty of space in between. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour.

Preheat your oven, and a baking stone if you have one, to 475F. If you have a baking stone, place the loaves or rolls directly on the baking stone. Otherwise, sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal, place the loaves or rolls on the baking sheet, allowing enough room for expansion, and place the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven. Using a spray bottle of warm water, quickly mist the oven, not the bread, 8 to 10 times, then quickly shut the oven door. Mist again after 1 minute, then again 1 minute later. Bake for about 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 450F, mist one more time, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer for rolls, or 10 to 15 minutes for loaves, until the crust is well browned (if the crust is not completely browned, it will soften when cooled) and they sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
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Old 02-19-2006, 11:07 PM   #4
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Hmm, that sound's good, never heard of a starter for italian bread. I may try it. Or just use parts of it, to anyone who knows, or to the above^, I dont have a spray bottle, can I use a pot of water, put it in, and let it boil in the oven for a mist? And what kind of glaze would you reccomnd, im looking a nice crispy italian hard crust, soft inside.
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:14 PM   #5
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Wink Truly tried

I cannot agree more with Caine's recipe. I bake a variety of breads but follow those instructions he gave almost to a tee - and we all enjoy the most delicious of breads. The Italian way of using a very small amount of yeast and then allowing it to develop for six, eight or more hours (I find the more you bake, the more yeast spores in your kitchen and the shorter time for yeast development) really gives the most rich amazing taste to bread.
For some sourdough (I do mine without any added yeast) can be too strong, while straightforward and immediate yeasting doesn't give enough flavour. This Italian "biga" is by far the best.
I also do salt-rising, which can present problems if you're not careful. A small amount of salt with just a cup of flour and one of boiling or very hot water is mixed, tightly and snugly wrapped in a blanket and left to sit overnight. It should start fermenting by the morning. Herewith the normal procedure as for sourdough bread: one or two cups of warm water and then enough flour to make your dough - I prefer a soft and slightly sticky one. Salt to taste and sometimes I add olive oil.

By the way, I'm from South Africa and we're having a blistering summer. But in winter I will heat the bowl for my salt-rising starter, do the mixing,wrap it and then place it in an icebox with a hot water bottle to keep is warm (and cosy!)

Maws
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Old 02-23-2006, 04:20 PM   #6
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One of these days, when I have some "extra time," I want to make a sourdough starter from natural grape yeast, and just keep it going forever.
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Old 03-06-2006, 10:06 PM   #7
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> link to Amy Scherber's RUSTIC ITALIAN BREAD. A very detailed recipe with some pix. This recipe is duplicated (sometimes with attribution, sometimes without) on many web sites. Amy Scherber is one of the leading artisan bakers in NYC.

> link to a good pictorial instruction on forming baguettes Forming and Baking Baguettes. Click on each thumbnail pix to enlarge.

> this link is to my personal recipe for baguettes/italian-style bread - recipe, shaping and baking instructions, pix - works well for me
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Old 03-06-2006, 11:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago Sicilian
Hmm, that sound's good, never heard of a starter for italian bread. I may try it. Or just use parts of it, to anyone who knows, or to the above^, I dont have a spray bottle, can I use a pot of water, put it in, and let it boil in the oven for a mist? And what kind of glaze would you reccomnd, im looking a nice crispy italian hard crust, soft inside.
You can buy a spray bottle in any kitchen, hardware, or thrift store. It works much better than putting a pan of water in the oven.

I don't put any glaze on my Italian bread. The crust gets hard and crunchy all by itself. It doesn't need any help.
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