Thanks to a follower, we have this excellent recipe for Italian style bread. This scrumptious loaf has a crunchy crust and is soft and spongy inside. This is a good recipe to double and keep on hand, unbaked, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, removing a quarter at a time to make loaves.
Makes 2 medium loaves.
- 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted (500 grams or about 3. 5 c unsifted)
- 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 Tbsp sugar (optional)
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 c room temperature water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- semolina flour
- In a large covered bowl or pot, mix all except semolina together with wooden spoon, moving around until tacky and leaves sides. Cover and proof 2 hours at room temperature.
- Punch down with wooden spoon, jabbing it all over to remove the air; cover and refrigerate. When dough rises in refrigerator an hour or so, punch down again with wooden spoon. Cover again, and store for up to 2 weeks.
- When ready to bake, place pizza stone in center of oven and set oven to 425 degrees F. Preheat for 45 minutes. At same time, remove one-half of dough from refrigerator and form dough into ball. Then use fingers to shape into loaf. (You may bake two baguettes at a time if desired.) Place on a work surface or board which has been sprinkled with semolina. Sprinkle semolina lightly on the top of the loaf as well. Cover with a clean towel and allow to double in volume.
- With a sharp knife, slash the top of the loaf in 4 slashes evenly spaced. Brush the outside of loaf generously with water. Use a peel or large dough scraper to lift the loaf to the hot stone. Bake 30-35 minutes or until nice and brown. Cool on rack.