What's Italian About It?
This bread is super easy to make and is definitely my "go-to" recipe that never fails.
To be honest, there isn't much difference in taste between this and your standard-issue French bread. Both are crusty on the outside and have a soft, pillowy inner texture. If this bread has some traceable lineage to Italian ancestry, it's due to the inclusion of semolina flour and a very small amount of sugar. I find semolina adds a unique texture, a slight hue of yellow color, and a slightly sweet (almost cornmeal-like) flavor.
- Kitchen mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 2 teaspoons (1/4 oz or 7 grams) active dry yeast
- 2 cups water
- Heat filtered water in microwave until about 100 degrees F. Keep the temperature under 120F or you'll kill the yeast.
- Add yeast and sugar, and set aside for approximately 10 minutes.
- Attach paddle to kitchen mixer, and add the salt to the yeast & water solution.
- On a low mix setting, start to add your flour.
- Upon adding the third cup of flour or so, switch from paddle to dough hook attachment.
- Continue to blend for another 2-3 minutes until flour is well incorporated into dough mixture.
- On a well-floured counter top, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes
- Please dough in a greased (olive oil) bowl
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm (68-80 degreees F) place for about one hour
- After an hour the dough should have roughly doubled in size. Split the dough mixture in half, and knead each half into loaves. You can go for the traditional oblong shape, or adopt a more circular shape; it's up to you.
- Score the top of the loafs with a knife. For oblong shapes, make about 4 cuts at 45-degree angles across the loaves. For round loafs you can take the same approach, or alternatively, make a crosshatch pattern.
- Optional: sprinkle more Kosher salt on top of the loaves
- Set aside loaves on a greased (again olive oil) cookie sheet for about 30 minute in order to let the loaves rise a second time.
- Preheat oven to 400F while dough rises a second time.
- Place loaves in ove for 25 minutes; checking on them after 20 min.
- Let the loafs cool on a room temperature surface; not the cookie sheet they originally baked on.