Recipe: Tuscan Bread

Title: Tuscan Bread
Categories: Breads, Italian
Yield: 1 servings

1 oz Fresh yeast; -=OR=- 2 1/4 c Unbleached white flour
2 pk -Instant dry yeast granules 1/4 c Whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c Warm water (125F)

IN A LARGE BOWL, DISSOLVE the yeast in the water. Mix the 2 flours and stir
them in to make a soft dough. Knead 10 minutes by hand, or 4 minutes in a
heavy duty mixer with a dough hook. Oil a clean bowl and set the dough in
it, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk. (In
the traditional warm place, this will take about 2 hours. However, a cooler
temperature will do as long as the dough has enough time to rise, including
overnight in the refrigerator.) If the dough is ready sooner than it is
needed, punch it down and refrigerate it or let it rise slowly again at
room temperature until ready to use. Rub 2 to 3 tablespoons flour into a
lintless dish towel and set the towel on a baking sheet. When the dough has
completed its rising, punch it down, turn it out onto a floured work
surface, and flatten it into an oblong about 8 inches wide, 10 inches long,
and 1/4-inch thick. It will still be very soft, but try to use a minimum of
additional flour in handling it. Roll the dough tight, jelly-roll fashion,
into a cylindrical shape. Flatten this to about 1-inch thick and roll it
again. (This activates the web of gluten that will keep the loaf from
flattening out in the oven.) FOR A ROUND LOAF, tuck both ends of the
cylinder under to meet in the center, pinching to seal them. Roll the dough
around the work surface under your hands, to shape it into a smooth ball
about 5 inches in diameter. FOR AN OBLONG LOAF, roll the dough under your
hands into a fat cigar shape, extending it to about 10 inches in length.
Set the loaf on the floured towel and fold the ends of the towel loosely
around it. Put the covered loaf, on its baking sheet, in a warm place to
rise for 1 hour. Preheat an oven lined with baking tiles to 400F. Have a
water-filled sprayer handy. Slide your hand under the towel, pick up the
loaf, and gently deposit it upside down on the tiles. Spray water into the
oven before closing the door, and spray twice more at 2-minute intervals.
Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. The bread should have a hollow
sound when you knock on its bottom.

Makes 1 Loaf


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