Friday, April 28, 2006

Italian bread

If you have a bread machine, give this recipe a try. It goes together super fast with just five ingredients, and makes a nicely-flavored loaf for toasting, sandwiches, or serving warm with butter at dinner time.

Italian Bread
(2 lb. loaf)

In your bread maker, combine
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 cups aerated bread flour, spooned into measuring cup
2 teaspoons dry yeast

Set machine for 2 lbs, medium crust.

Let cool for about 45 minutes before serving (if you can wait that long -- I never can).

Buying info:
I like Spanish olive oil (but I'll still call this Italian bread); Walason's and Dollars have a good selection at decent prices. Extra virgin gives a nice flavor and aroma. New Zealand sea salt is available in several grinds at Dollars (on the foreign foods aisle, with the Japanese salts). Yeast is available at Walason's in vacuum-packed blocks; store in an airtight container in the fridge. Bread flour is also available at Walason's, in the bag with the blue label. I think it actually says "Bread Flour" in English on it now. As far as aerating the flour, I just give it a good stir with a wire whisk before filling up the measuring cup each time. Without this, you will end up with a larger quantity of flour per cup and probably a tougher loaf. Obviously, don't tap the cup to settle the flour; just run a chopstick across to even the top.

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