Bread. Its history is staggering, poetic, and full of drama. Bread is mentioned in the Bible, has fed the ancient Greeks and Romans, and remains an important part of our modern table. I can think of no stronger, fundamental connection to food cultures past or present, East and West, than the making of bread.
Why take the time to make bread at home? I take the time to make bread at home because it tastes great! It totally contributes to other food and wine tasting great too, and so, for me, is an important part of the overall food / wine experience. And the act of making bread helps me to stay connected to what I eat. Making bread reminds me to respect and appreciate the earth, what it gives to us, and it informs my perspectives about wine.
IT IS EASY: Give it a try !
1 Kilogram of AP Flour (organic if you can get it)
6 teaspoons of Active Dried Yeast
Pinch of sugar Water, room temperature
Note: I don’t like salt in my bread. If you do, just go ahead and add some: disolve it in a bit water first.
Mix the yeast into a small bowl with about 1 cup / 240ml of warm water, adding a good pinch of sugar. Mix well. Let it sit till creamy, about 8-10 minutes.
Put your flour into a large mixing bowl, add the water / yeast mixture, and then begin to add addtional water, a little at a time, till the dough comes together.
Put the dough on a floured marble, countertop, table, etc., and knead for a few minutes till it’s soft and elastic.
Put the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place for 5 – 6 hours.
Preheat your oven to 425F / 220C, move the dough onto a baking tray, shape, and bake for 40 minutes.
If you like this recipe, please visit http://www.ilcucinario.it/RICETTE%20STAMPA/PANE/pane.htm for other regional Italian bread recipes. The site is in Italian, however, if you can’t read Italian, you might use an online translator. *The above recipe is derived from the “Pane Toscano” recipe on that site.
Also, for more about the history of bread, you can see http://www.history-magazine.com/bread.html, which has a very interesting article on that topic.
Special THANKS to my family in Caserta, Italy who made the beautiful table cloth shown in the photo above.