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Crusty Italian Bread

ingredients

makes one loaf
1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour

to make the bread

2 cups warm water (hand hot)
1 package active dry yeast
5 cups (1 1/4 lb) 550 g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

method

to make the starter

1. Mix the yeast and water together, and then slowly start adding the flour, mixing well.

2. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for up to 6 hours.

3. Refrigerate overnight.

to make the bread

1. Place the water in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast into the water and mix well. leave to stand for 15 minutes until frothy.

2. Add the starter, flour, and salt and stir with a wooden spoon (or mix with your hands) until everything is mixed.

3. The dough will be fairly wet and sticky at this point. Cover and let stand in a warm spot for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in volume.

4. Punch down the dough, folding it over on itself two or three times, cover and let rise once more until doubled, about 1 hour.

5. Turn out your dough onto a floured baking sheet, and without overworking it too much shape into one large or two smaller round or oval shaped loaves, using as much extra flour as needed to keep it from sticking.

6. Slash across the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife or razor just prior to baking.

7. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Place a casserole dish with boiling water on the lower oven rack. Bake your bread for 30 minutes, turn the baking sheet around, and reduce the heat to 300°F and bake for another 30-45 minutes. At this point your bread should be golden brown and should sound hollow when you tap the bottom.

8. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature and serve.

What did you think?

34 people have helped to review this recipe. Thankyou!

Crusty Italian Bread
posted by hayden williams @ 01:35PM, 12/03/08
Recipe easy to follow made two quite large ciabatta style loaves- delicious!!!
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