Baking good bread at home has been quite a bit of challenge. I have tried my hand at it couple of times and I don’t say I had great success. Some times they turned out good and other times, total flop. But it is definitely something I always loved to learn. So here was a golden opportunity for me.
Our friend Cindy had called us for lunch few days ago. When we reached her home, out-of-the-world delicious aroma of bread baking invited us. She served us just-out-of-oven bread which was one of the tastiest breads I have ever had. I could not believe she had baked such good bread. So I asked her for the recipe.
She sent it to me and I baked it last week. When I started with it and the dough beautifully rose,I knew it was going to be a success. As expected, it was absolutely delicious. I gave it a foccacia bread shape and topped with olives. That was my personal touch, it is great as simple bread sticks too.
I made the bread with half the measurements given below, i.e. half the quantity.
2 envelopes active dry yeast (1 envelope = 2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 cups warm water (100-110F)
2/3 cup olive oil
3 tbl spn sugar
4 1/2 – 5 cups all purpose flour (use the least necessary)
2 tea spn salt
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 cloves garlic (run through press or mince very fine)
2 tea spn dried mixed Italian seasonings
1 tsp dried basil
I used half all purpose flour and half wheat flour.
Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Add oil, sugar, 3 and 1/2 cups flour. Mix until smooth. Let sponge rest about 20 minutes. (At this stage, the dough is very sticky)
Mix down, add salt, garlic, seasonings and basil. Stir in more flour until it is easy to handle. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes by hand).
Leave it overnight(I left it sit just for 1 hr instead of overnight) and next day, take out, Shape into loaves. I made it into 4 bread sticks and 1 foccacia (as I said, I had used half the quantity)
Place into greased baking pans or sheets. Cover with towel and let rise until doubled in size. Approx 1 hour.
I sprinkled them with some parmesan cheese and olives. Also drizzled some olive oil on top.
Preheat the oven at 350F for about 10mins. Bake for 30-35mins at 350F or till it is done.
I served it with marinara sauce, topped it with red chili flakes while serving. But it tastes on its own too.
The quantity mentioned above, makes 2 big round loaves.
I am sending this to Mansi’s Monthly mingle – Appetizers & Hors’Doeuvres event.