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    Italian Bread

    This is my standard Italian Bread recipe. It’s derived from a recipe in Clayton, “The Breads of France.”

    This bread is made with all white bread flour, but you can substitute up to 20% whole wheat flour with no change in the recipe. I’ve modified the recipe to accommodate my style:

    1. I made a poolish of 200 grams each bread flour and water and 2 ml / 1/2 teaspoon yeast.
    2. I left the poolish on the counter overnight.
    3. I added an autolyse of 25 minutes after initial mix and before adding salt and doing the kneading.
    4. I did three fermentation periods, two of one hour separated by a fold, then another fold and a final fermentation period of 30 minutes.
    5. You can also do a simpler method: ferment for 2 hours, then fold and ferment for 30 minutes.
    6. You can choose the fermentation method that fits your schedule.
    7. Final rise period after shaping was 50 minutes.

    Poolish 

    Ingred Ounces Grams
    Bread Flour 7 200
    Water 7 200
    Dry Yeast 1/2 tsp 2

    This Italian bread will frequently give enough oven spring to form two very large basketballs, especially is you use very strong bread flour.

    For instruction on how to make a poolish, go here but use the amounts above.

    Ingredients to Add to the Poolish

    If you don’t have malt syrup, use sugar.

    Ingred Ounces Grams
    Water 17 480
    Bread Flour 31 1/2 890
    Dry Yeast 1 Tbsp 15 ml
    Salt 1 Tbsp 22
    NF Dry Milk 1/2 cup 225 ml
    Olive Oil 1 Tbsp 15 ml
    Malt 1 Tbsp 15 ml See malt discussion here.

     

    Method 

    1. Measure the flour and other ingredients.
    2. Put the poolish, water, sugar, yeast, oil, malt syrup and milk powder in the mixer bowl.
    3. Add half the flour and mix for two minutes.
    4. Switch to the dough hook, add the rest of the flour and mix for two minutes.
    5. Let the dough rest for 25 minutes.
    6. Add the salt and knead for 8 minutes.
    7. You can ferment this dough with one long first fermentation, 2 hours, and then fold it and do a final short final fermentation, OR you can do two 1-hour fermentations, with a fold in between, and then a fold and the short final fermentation.
    8. The pictures show the three-step fermentation, but either way works well.
    9. Shape into two 2-pound / 900 gram loaves, place on parchment paper and let rise for 50 minutes.
    10. Slash in a tic-tac-toe and bake in a dry oven at 425 F / 220 C for 20 minutes, turn and finish baking. The internal temperature should be 200F / 93C.
    11. For a deeper crust, turn off the oven and leave the bread in the cooling oven for 5 or 10 minutes.
    12. You can also spritz the risen loaves with water and sprinkle sesame seeds on the loaves. This will deepen the color, too.

    For larger holes in the loaf, use a very gentle fold, such as the Hamelman fold in the folding section.

    And Away We Go!

    Click on the thumbnail to view a larger picture.
    Click on the large image to return to the discussion.

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