Monday, March 14, 2016
Based on a recipe by Mary Ann Esposito in her book, Ciao Italia, this bread is as delicious as it is mammouth! And although it doesn't keep it's moisture well after the first few days, it makes excellent toast or is great for making toasted sandwiches.
To achieve a nice crust, place a pan in the lower rack of the oven and use either a baking stone or baking steel or cast iron pizza pan. These make all the difference in the world. In addition, I use parchment paper instead of corn meal, a trick I learned from chef and cookbook author, Suvir Saran.
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 package instant yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
About 2 cups of lukewarm water.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add one cup of the water and the olive oil and mix. Keep adding water just until you get all the flour wet but not saturated. (You may not need the entire two cups.)
Scrape onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough in soft and elastic, dusting the surface with a little more flour as needed if the dough is sticking.
Oil a bowl large enough to hold twice the amount of dough and place the dough inside the bowl turning it once to oil both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
Once the dough has doubled, punch it down, form it into a loaf and place it on a peel that has been covered with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.
While the dough is rising, place a baking pan on the bottom rack of the oven and a baking stone or other baking heat condusive object on the rack above.
Preheat the oven to 425° F.
When the loaf has risen, make a few slashes on the top with a very sharp nice or razor blade and slip it onto the baking stone.
Pour a cup of hot water from the tap into the baking pan on the bottom rack and immediately close the oven door.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove to a rack to cool