Saturday, April 3, 2010

Basic Italian Loaf

I spent almost my entire holiday in Seattle perfecting this recipe!  Now I want to bake it every day!

2 tbsp brown sugar
1 and 1/3 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 and 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Fit stand mixer with dough hook.  Pour warm water (between 105 and 115 degrees) over brown sugar in mixing bowl of stand mixer.  Allow to sit 10 minutes until yeast is activated and frothy.  Turn mixer to stir speed and add salt and olive oil.  Begin adding flour 1 cup at a time.  Turn mixer to speed 2 and let it do the work kneading for you for 10 minutes.  Remove dough from hook and oil mixing bowl.  Place dough in bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with a tea towel and let rise 1 hour.

Flour counter and large baking sheet.  Turn dough out onto floured countertop and shape into an oblong loaf.  Move to the baking sheet.  Re-cover with tea towel and let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  For a crispier, darker, glossy crust mix 1 egg yolk and half of the egg white with 2 tbsp. water.  Brush bread with egg mixture and sprinkle with sea salt.  For a softer, lighter crust brush with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh rosemary and sea salt.  Bake 35 minutes.