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Italian Bread with Sesame Seeds

Italian Bread

Here’s another breadmaking experiment that turned out pretty well! I’ve heard that King Arthur AP Flour has a bit more of a Bread Flour quality to it than other brands of AP flour, so since I was using Trader Joe’s AP flour, I added about a 1/2 cup bread flour to the dough flour. That’s just swapped out for the AP flour, not in addition to. It seemed to work well.

Let’s see, the original recipe did not use weight measurements, but cup measurements. I know it’s easy enough to figure out the weight and do it that way, but I was too lazy and just followed the recipe. When I made the dough, though, I held back about a 1/2 cup of the AP flour and just added as needed (or kneaded! ha!. I think I used a bit of the reserved flour but not all. That will also probably depend on your weather (humidity) and whatnot.

The recipe below is the original, but my comments are in italics!

Italian Bread 101
Recipe from the King Arthur Flour Web site

Overnight Starter
3/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup water
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Topping
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water
sesame seeds

The Starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.

Manual Method: In a large bowl, combine the starter and the remainder of the dough ingredients, stirring till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it’s supple, but the surface is still somewhat rough. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes, turning it over and gently deflating it after 45 minutes.

Mixer Method: Combine the ingredients as above, using a flat beater paddle or beaters, then switch to the dough hook(s) and knead for about 5 minutes; the dough should have formed a ball, but its surface will still be a bit rough. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes, turning it over and gently deflating it after 45 minutes.

Italian Bread

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased (I did lightly floured) work surface, and divide it into three pieces.

Italian Bread

Roll each piece into an 18-inch rope. Braid the ropes (tucking the ends under), set the braid on parchment lined baking sheet.

Italian Bread

Cover, and let rise it rise for about 60 to 90 minutes, or till it’s very puffy. Also, preheat the oven when it has about 20-30 minutes of rise time left. I also pre-heated my baking stone.

Italian Bread

Brush the braid with the egg white glaze. Sprinkle it heavily with sesame seeds.

Italian Bread

Bake the bread (on a pizza stone if you’ve got one), in a preheated 425°F oven for 25 to 35 minutes; the longer it bakes, the crunchier it’ll be. Remove it from the oven and cool it on a wire rack (or cool it in the turned-off, door-propped open oven). Yield: 1 loaf.

Italian Bread

Hmmm…I think baguettes are next!

5 comments to Italian Bread with Sesame Seeds

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