Crusty Italian Bread
From Crusty Italian Bread
- 1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- cornmeal for dusting
Combine yeast, water and 1 tsp of the sugar in your mixing bowl. Add 1 cup flour and stir until incorporated. Set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
Add the remaining flour, sugar and salt and mix until combined. Add the olive oil and knead (using your mixer’s dough hook attachment) on low for about 10-12 minutes, until you have a smooth dough ball.
Please dough in an oiled bowl and coat the entire dough ball with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in volume. Tip: if you have a cooler room temperature in your home (like I do), you can fill a bigger bowl about halfway with warm-hot water from the tap, then place your dough bowl into the bowl of water. The hot water will rise around the sides of the inner bowl. Replace the water about halfway through the rising time. This is a magical trick and really speeds up the rising process! Just make sure the water isn’t boiling hot.
After the first rise, punch down the dough and and roll into the desired shape and place it onto your baking dish. Cover and let rise again until doubled in volume. Please an oven-safe bowl of water in the oven and preheat to 425 F.
Once the bread is risen, put the bread into the preheated oven and immediately reduce the heat to 400 F. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the shape/size of your bread.