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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Italian Country Loaf Bread

I was browsing though my Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book and I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  I was looking for a loaf bread, other than french bread, because I always eat that bread.  Not that I don't love french bread!  But I wanted something different.
So bread!  I want to be healthier, but then there is all this good stuff!  Like oh, I don't know, REFINED SUGARS.  Here's a healthier bread recipe :)

Italian Country Loaf Bread

Prep time: 40 minutes
Rising and standing time: 6-24
Makes: 2 loaves
! cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
9 3/4- 10 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt

In a Large bowl, stir the 1 cup warm water and yeast together.  Let the yeast mixture stand for about 4 minutes or until it looks creamy.  Stir one cup of flour, milk, and sugar into the yeast mixture.  Add one more cup of flour.  Cover and set for 4-24 hours in a warm place.

3 1/2 hours later.....

Beat the 1 3/4 cup water, 1/3 cup olive oil, dried oregano, garlic powder, and salt into the yeast mixture.  Stir in the remaining flour a cup at a time.

Turn the dough on a floured surface and knead until the dough is somewhat stiff and has a smooth elastic-y consistency.  Place in a greased bowl and let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours.

1 1/2 hours later.....

Punch the dough down.  Turn onto a floured surface.  Grease 2 large baking dishes.  Divide the dough in half.  Shape the 2 halves into a ball shape. Flatten to about 6 1/2 inches in diameter.  Cover and let rise for an hour.

1 hour later.....

Adjust your oven racks to the lowest possible position.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes.  Periodically spray bread with water for crispier crust.  Remove from the oven when a deep golden and crispy looking.

This bread stores about 3 days unrefrigerated.  If you toast, and spread with butter it will be delicious!

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