Crusty Italian bread via www.clairekcreations.com

Do you remember last month when I said that I was going to make more of an effort to make challenging recipes for my Secret Recipe Club posts? I was going to be really organised and not leave them to the last minute. That lasted all of one month.

I know to a lot of people, bread doesn’t make it on to their ‘easy recipe’ list but I promise you, once you get the hang of it, making bread is seriously easy and so very rewarding. I can now whip up a fresh focaccia with about 5 minutes hands-on work.

Crusty Italian bread via www.clairekcreations.com

This month I was assigned to My Hobby Lobbie written by Trisha in Sydney. I think this is the first time I’ve been paired up with a fellow Aussie. Trisha creates all sorts of things and not just food. She even sells her handmade scarves on Made It. Her recipe collection is quite enormous and while was I was set on baking bread, I was torn between this one and naan bread.

Crusty Italian bread via www.clairekcreations.com

In all honesty I didn’t choose this just because I thought it would be easy for me. I have been searching for a recipe for dad for ages. His favourite bread is the Vienna loaf sold at our local bakery and try as I might, I cannot find a recipe that produces the same result. While this was definitely a great loaf of bread, it didn’t have the thin flakey crust like dad’s loaf.

Crusty Italian bread via www.clairekcreations.com

It sliced perfectly and had a nice tight crumb. It didn’t rise in the oven quite as much as it should have because I got a bit distracted and let it rise too much the second time but it was still really good. Ollie loved it with peanut butter. I think next time I will add some rosemary and garlic. Yum. Enjoy!

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Crusty Italian bread via www.clairekcreations.com

Crusty Italian bread

Crusty Italian bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups baker's flour
  • 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • Corn flour for the oven tray

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients except the water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  2. With the mixer running, slowly add the water a little at a time reserving the last bit.
  3. Mix until everything is combined and if it is still a little dry add more water.
  4. Increase the speed and knead for 6 minutes.
  5. Oil a large bowl.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a bowl then place in the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  7. Leave until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  8. Punch down the dough.
  9. Sprinkle the bench with flour and press the dough out. No need to be too perfect about it.
  10. Tightly roll the dough up into a log then press it out to flat and roll it up again.
  11. Sprinkle a sheet of baking paper with cornflour and place the dough on top seam-side down.
  12. Cover with a piece of oiled plastic wrap and leave to almost double in size again.
  13. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 220C (470F) fan-forced with the oven tray inside.
  14. When the dough has risen, slash the top with a sharp knife and spray with water.
  15. Bake for 3 minutes then spray with water again.
  16. Bake for a further 40 minutes.
  17. The bread is baked when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  18. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

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