There are few things as fragrant and flavorful as fresh baked bread! The aroma of baking bread brings back memories of hearth and home and the warmth and love provided there. The spongy inner crumb and crusty outer layer makes this bread suitable for all needs; it is superb sandwich bread, amazing toasted, wonderful warm with butter and preserves and a perfect compliment to soups, stews & pastas. In my opinion, this is the ideal bread for Bruschetta & paninis as well.
1 cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons honey or sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups bread flour or 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Corn meal, small handful
Add honey (or sugar), yeast and water in a small bowl or measuring cup, stir & let proof (or sit) for 10 minutes-small bubbles will form at the top. Add flour, oil & salt to your bread machine, add yeast mixture. You can also use a mixer with a dough hook, but a bread machine is preferred—please email me for the mixer recipe. Set machine on “dough” setting and allow your machine to do the work.
While mixing open a few times to check the dough. Dough should be in a nice round soft sticky to the touch ball. If it is not add more water, or add flour which ever is needed.
When signal beeps the cycle is done—here’s where you step in.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Remove dough from machine, punch down and roll, on a lightly floured surface, into a large round loaf. Place in *Brotform basket, cover and let rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes. It should double in size. Sprinkle the top (which will actually be the bottom if using Brotform) of the dough with corn meal and place baking sheet over dough and carefully turn upside down.
*If you don’t have a Brotform, place round loaf on a lightly greased baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal, cover and allow to rise — see above.
Slash the top 4 times with a sharp knife or razor. You can see by my example that I slashed an overlapping square between the circles that the Brotform provided.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown & it produces a hollow sound when tapped on bottom. Cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing.