Last night I made some fresh fettuccine alfredo for dinner and decided that I might as well go all and make some bread too. I kept debating with myself whether I should make breadsticks or a loaf of bread. Then Chelle posted about some Italian bread that she had made the previous day and it looked fabulous. I figured that since the rest of my meal was from her blog I might as well make this too. :)
This recipe says to mist the bread with water right before putting it in the oven and then two more times at three minute intervals. Since I do not have anything to mist water from I decided to try the technique that I learned when I made the French Bread for Daring Bakers. Instead of misting the bread with water I went ahead and threw about 1/3 cup of water into the bottom of my oven. Not only does it create steam but it kinda cleans the bottom of my oven too. :)
This bread came together very quickly and easily. I think I could have let it rise a bit longer on its second rise because it was a tad heavy in the middle but the taste was still wonderful. Be warned this does make one large loaf of bread. Mine was about 16" long in the end.
Source: As seen on Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Dawn’s Recipes
Makes 1 large loaf
2 cups lukewarm water (~100°F)
1 package active dry yeast
5 to 5¾ cups bread flour
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2½ teaspoons salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Stir the yeast into ½ cup of the warm water. Let proof as you measure out the dry ingredients.
Combine 5 cups flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the yeast mixture, remaining water and olive oil. Using a dough hook attachment, mix on lowest speed of electric mixer (stir setting on a KitchenAid) until a dough starts to form, adding more flour as needed. Knead on low speed (2 on a KitchenAid) for 7 minutes. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and need by hand for 1 to 2 minutes, or until a smooth, firm, elastic dough is formed.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and spray the dough with a thin coating of cooking spray. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to proof in a warm, draft-free place for 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
Remove the plastic wrap, punch down and flatten the rounded dough with the heel of your hand. Roll the dough up tightly, sealing the seam well after each roll. The dough should be elongated and oval-shaped, with tapered and rounded (not pointed) ends.
Preheat the oven lined with a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles to 425°F.
Place the dough on a baker’s peel heavily dusted with flour, or alternately on an inverted baking sheet. Allow the dough to proof, loosely covered with a floured canvas cloth, for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Brush the dough with the egg white and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top. Using a razor blade or sharp knife, slash the dough lengthwise about 1/4-inch deep, keeping the blade at a 45 degree angle.
Spray the dough generously with water from a water bottle and place in the oven on the baking stone. Immediately close the oven and bake for 3 minutes. Open the oven door and spray the dough again with the water bottle. Close the oven door and bake for an additional 3 minutes before spraying the dough for a third time (the spraying of the dough will ensure a crisp golden brown crust).
Bake the dough for a total of 45 minutes, or until a hollow thud is heard when tapping the bottom of the bread. Allow the bread to cool before slicing.