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  Tuscan Bread

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Category: Pizza & Panini
Servings: Makes 1 large loaf or 2 medium loaves
Total time: 1 hr 30 min + overnight rising time
Level: Easy
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An authentic Italian recipe from our kitchen to yours. Buon Appetito!

Ingredients

- 3 cups high quality all purpose flour + extra for dusting your work surface

- 7 ounces fresh, filtered water

- 1 packet active dry yeast

Directions

1.  Place the water into the microwave and heat for 45 seconds. The water should be lukewarm, not hot. If the water is too hot, set it aside to cool for a few minutes otherwise the heat will kill the yeast.

2.  If the water is lukewarm, pour the packet of yeast into the water and whisk thoroughly until the yeast is dissolved. Set the mixture aside for about 5 minutes.

3.  In the meantime, add the flour to a mixing bowl, and make a well in the center of the flour.

 

 

 

4.  After 5 minutes, whisk the water and yeast mixture once again. Then pour it into the well of flour in the mixing bowl.

5.  Using a spatula or your hands, proceed to mix the flour into the water and yeast mixture until you have a rough, shaggy dough.

6.  Generously flour your work surface and then turn out the shaggy dough onto it. Begin to knead the dough, adding flour if necessary, until it is smooth and pliable, about 8 - 10 minutes.

7.  Once your dough has been kneaded, place it into a clean mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it set for a least 12 hours or overnight. If your kitchen is cool enough, it can be left on the counter overnight. If it is quite warm, it is best to refrigerate the dough for this initial rise. It can remain refrigerated in this state for up to 36 hours.

8.  When you are ready to make the bread, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If the dough was refrigerated overnight, remove it from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature prior to working with it. Depending on the temperature it could take 90 minutes to 2 hours.

9.  When the dough has reached room temperature, generously flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is easily pliable. If the dough is very wet, continue to knead additional flour into the dough until it is pliable and no longer easily sticks to your work surface. In this case, a bench scraper is very useful in kneading wet dough.

10.  If making small loaves, divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a ball or an oval loaf. Otherwise shape all of the dough into one large ball or loaf.

11.  Place the shaped dough onto parchment paper generously dusted with flour. Cover the loaves with a warm, wet towel and let them rise once more for 30 to 45 minutes or until they have roughly doubled in size.

12.  When the loaf or loaves have risen once more, place them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the bread is a deep golden brown throughout.

13.  The breads are finished baking when you tap the bottom and they sound hollow inside. At this point, remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool at least 2 hours prior to slicing.