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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Italian doughboy

This week, I was extremely excited about foundations of baking lab. The topic was crusty yeast breads - and we all know how much I love my carbs, and since they obviously don't contain any sort of butter or shortening at all. I was in heaven - well not literally but just about. PLUS, we got to choose our own groups this time, and this is the group we'll be sticking to for the rest of the semester. My group is awesome. It has stefany who is in all my classes almost, another girl named valerie and a lady name Selibeth. We are SO efficient, I almost passed out. While I wanted to make french bread, we got assigned Italian bread instead and I was disappointed because the italian breads that I have ever tried has always been rather nothing special. That changed in 2 hours.

We used the straight dough method as I had described in the yeast rolls post.


water - 4lbs

dry active yeast - 1 1/4 oz

bread flour - 7 lbs 8 oz

salt - 3 oz

When we had finished using the straigh dough method, we floured our wooden bench, and let it rest for an hour before punching it down and letting it rest again for another half an hour (covered during rising times). Then we scaled it into 1 lb loaves I believe ( I have to check on that again), we got 4 loaves of bread on each pan, and we ended up with 3 pans. We flattened each 1 lb piece of dough and from the top corners, rolled and pinched the whole way down to the end seam. Seal the ends by pressing with the side of your palm, set on semolina dusted baking sheets, 4 to a sheet.

Let loaves proof until double in size.

Score on left side of each loaf and place a piece of string that has been soaked in water in the score (this prevents the slash from closing up during baking).
Immediately put in oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or more, until there is at least what looks like a half inch layer of crust.
(I had no idea that italian breads were supposed to have such a thick crust until that day)


We also made Grissini - italian breadsticks, and honestly the grissinis I've had prior to this was all soggy and not crispy so basically quite nasty, so I wasn't excited about it until I tasted this!!! We could add any herbs and cheeses or ingredients we wanted, so I went for rosemary and romano cheese. I'm drooling right now.

1 3/4 ts active dry yeast
1 tbs honey/malt syrup
1 1/4 C warm water
2 tbs olive oil, more for brushing dough
3 3/4 C all purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 ts salt
2 oz romano cheese
1/4 C dried rosemary

stir yeast, honey into water (warm 110F) and let sit for 10 minutes.
Mix in 2 tbs oil with paddle attachment in mixter, add flour and salt and mix until dough comes together. Change to a dough hook & knead for 3 minutes on low speed.

Finish kneading on a floured bench for 45 seconds.

Then knead in romano cheese and rosemary. Pat into 14 x 4 in rectangle.

Let rest for an hour, covered on floured bench

With pizza cutter, cut dough in half lengthwise, then cut the other way into 1/4 in strips.

Take the ends of each strip and stretch strip till very thin and long. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. You can brush with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt but we thought it was salty enough without the added salt.

Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Next weeks session: Rye breads. I can't wait!!!!!!

I'm So gonna try to make The nieman marcus's chocolate chip cookies this weekend. I must.


Cynthia said...

Valerie, I am thoroughly enjoying your updates at school. Nice tip on putting the wet string on the dough. I'm learning so much. Thanks for sharing hon.

Bake your cake and eat it too said...

cynthia, not a problem. I'm glad you are enjoying it :-) Thanks for the recipe by the way. I'm so gonna try it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Nags said...

hey valerie, thank you so much for dropping by. i totally understand about the ingredients .. i find that in india we dont get a lot of stuff that u guys use too :) its a pity, really.. its even tuff to get choc chips where i live!

Angsana said...

ooooooohhhhhh! They do look so heavenly!!
Can't wait when you get back home to bake for us:))) Have to get Karen to read your post!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, great breads! They look gorgeous! I'm happy to hear that you are so thrilled about your baking sessions! I'm looking forwards to seeing your new recipes...



Big Momma said...

It sounds like you are having a blast at school. I am sooo happy for you. Keep sharing as I am enjoying learning through your experiences.

Big Momma

Bake your cake and eat it too said...

Rosa, I am definitely having a good time. The hour and a half drive isn't so thrilling but it's worth it. :-)

Big Momma, I'll do my best to keep you all up to date, and I think next term will be more exciting with the advanced baking class. :-D