BEST BREAD RECIPE

Best bread recipes are the ones with the fewest ingredients and the ones that are the most reliable to make.  This great recipe for Tuscan Bread is always predictable and always delicious.  It is adapted from the book The Bread Bible.  This bread is the best bread recipe for a Tuscan loaf.

INGREDIENTS

Makes 1 large loaf

  • 2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3-1/2 cups unbleached or white wheat flour (divided)
         1 cup
         1 cup
         1-1/2 cups in 1/2 cup increments
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s organic whole wheat flour
  • Salt, pinch
  • Sugar, pinch

DIRECTIONS

Using work bowl of large heavy duty mixer with whisk attachment, add warm water to bowl.  Sprinkle yeast over water and stir to dissolve.  Add 1 cup of unbleached flour and all of wheat flour.  Beat with whisk at medium to high speed until combined (about 1 minute).  Remove whisk and cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Attach paddle attachment to mixer.  Beat in 1 cup more of flour and salt and sugar.  Beat until smooth (about 1 minute).  Add remaining 1-1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time and beat until dough clears sides of bowl.  (Dough will be soft and stringy)

Remove dough from paddle and attach dough hook.  Knead for 4-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and springs back when pressed.  If desired, turn dough out onto floured surface and knead briefly by hand.

Flour bread board and place dough on board.  Dust the top of the dough with flour and cover with plastic wrap or clean dish towel.  Let rise at room temp until doubled in size – 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Line pizza pan or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Flatten dough and form into 1 tight round or an oblong shaped loaf of bread.  Place the bread on the parchment lined pan and dust with a bit more flour.

Let stand for 20 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Using a serrated knife, slash a tic-tac-toe pattern on top of the round loaf or diagonal slits on the oblong loaf but no more than 1/4 inch deep.  Place pan on lowest rack of oven and back for 55-60 minutes. 

Bread will be very crusty.  Even if it looks done after 45 minutes, bake 55-60 to bake thoroughly and give the bread its true Tuscan texture with crusty exterior.

Transfer to cooling rack and cool for 2 hours before serving. 

This is a dense relatively salt-free bread but makes excellent sandwiches and is great for dipping and as a side to soups and stews. 

For Tuscan bread with olives, add 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and 2/3 cup finely chopped pitted green and black olives to the dough after you have added all the flour.

This bread makes a fabulous addition to a Quick and Easy Antipasto Salad.

Try this recipe for Wheat French Bread.

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