There is nothing better than a crusty loaf of bread to enjoy – slathered in butter with your coffee in the morning or with a hot bowl of soup on a cool, fall evening. Baking bread is easy if you are patient and precise with your measurements. Give it a try and you just might be hooked!!
Sicilian Farm Bread
1 – 1/2 cup starter (recipe follows)
6 cups bread flour – King Arthur
1 cup whole wheat flour (I grind my own from white wheat) I recommend King Arthur if you purchase.
2 1/4 cups water
4 1/2 teaspoons salt
STARTER: You make this first! I generally make in the evening the day before I want to bake the bread.
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dry yeast (I only use SAF)
Mix this together and let stand for 12 hours
To Make bread:
Mix all ingredients: Take the starter and add: 6 cups bread flour , 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2-1/4 cups water, 4-1/2 teaspoons salt. Use the dough hook on your mixer for 10 minutes. The dough will form a ball and be slightly firm and not too sticky. Remove the dough hook and return dough to a mixing bowl to rise.
Let rise for 3 hours or until dough doubles. Cover with a tea towel while the dough is rising.
Shape into 2 medium rounds. Let proof (rise) for 3 hours. (I let one rise on a baking stone that I have covered with cornmeal. This keeps it from sticking and gives the bottom a nice texture). The second round, I let rise on a pizza peel that is also covered with cornmeal. The cornmeal will keep the dough from sticking to the pizza peel when it’s time to slide it on the baking stone. Cover the dough with a tea towel while it rises. This helps keep the dough from drying out and also helps protect it from drafts.
If you try to move the rounds after they rise, they will deflate somewhat.
After proofed, lightly dust with flour and mark – lightly score the top of each loaf – with a sharp knife.
Bake at 430 degrees for 40 minutes – until dough is browned and crisp. I always bake bread on a baking stone, but a good quality baking sheet will also work. Let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.
When ready to serve you can place back in oven for 4-5 minutes at 350 degrees to make the crust crispy.
This bread has a wonderful crisp crust and a chewy center. Enjoy!