Friday, 4 January 2013

and Crusty Italian Herb Bread

and the house smells amazing!
Crusty Italian Herb Bread

Today my plus one and I made some amazing smelling and tasting bread. I decided that I wanted to make the bread from scratch and completely my hand. No Kitchenaid or bread maker was used in the process. It was great fun kneading the dough and as the time went on we become hungrier and hungrier as we could smell the bread, first rising, and then baking.

Recipe from Allrecipes.

Preparation time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes plus 15 minutes cooling (we couldn't wait this long)
Serves: 24

  • 2 (8g) packets yeast (I only had 7g packs and but managed to get 16g out of them, somehow...)
  • 2 cups (500ml) warm water (45 C)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup (60g) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 6 cups (875g) bread flour

  1. Mix yeast, warm water and sugar together in a large bowl. Set aside for five minutes, or until mixture becomes foamy.
  2. Stir olive oil, salt, herbs, garlic, cheese and about half of the flour into the yeast mixture. Gradually mix in the remaining flour. Dough will be stiff.
  3. Knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and rubbery. Place in an oiled bowl, and turn to cover the surface of the dough with oil. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Punch dough down to release all the air. Shape into two loaves. Place loaves on a greased baking tray. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about another 30 minutes.
  5. Bake at 180 degrees C for 35 minutes. Remove loaves from the tray, and let cool on wire racks for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Dough in a large bowl ready

Just out of the oven

Made into bruschetta

The bread is great eaten warm with butter but we liked it best toasted. It was prefect for bruschetta as it was already a bit garlicky. The garlic and herbs were quite subtle in the bread but I thought it was about right. It was not overpowering.

The recipe made two great sized loaves. The one still whole in the pictures was shaped by me and the wider one that we made into bruschetta was shaped by the plus one. This was our first every yeast bread. I have made Irish soda bread before and I have learnt not to be afraid of cutting nice deep slits into the top. I thought I had cut to deep but it turned out about right, while the plus one cut shallower slits which almost disappeared during the baking process.

Next on the bread baking list is Sourdough. I currently have the starter ripening? souring? in the spare room. So in a few days I will be baking another lot of bread. I would love to only eat home made bread but I think that's currently a little ambitious.

Love, love Elle.

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