Amy Scherber's Crusty Italian Loaf
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Amy Scherber's Crusty Italian Loaf
  Italian    Loaf    Bread  
Last updated 6/12/2012 1:03:51 AM. Recipe ID 28027. Report a problem with this recipe.
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      Title: Amy scherber's crusty italian loaf
 Categories: Bread
      Yield: 3 Loaves
    3/4 ts Active dry yeast
    1/4 c  (2 ounces) very warm
           Water(105 to 115 degrees F)
      1 c  (8 ounces)cool water ( 75
           Degrees F)
  1 1/2 c  (12 ounces) Sponge Starter
           (recipe follows)
  3 1/2 c  (16 ounces) unbleached
           All-purpose flour
      1 tb Plus 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  A sponge starter bread
  Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl and stir with a fork
  to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 3 minutes.
  Add the cool water and sponge to the yeast mixture and mix with your
  fingers for about 2 minutes, breaking up the sponge. The mixture
  should look milky and slightly foamy. Add the flour and salt and mix
  with your fingers to incorporate the flour, scraping the sides of the
  bowl and folding the ingredients together until the dough gathers
  into a mass. It will be wet and sticky, with long strands of dough
  hanging from your fingers. If the dough is not sticky, add 1
  tablespoon of water.
  Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5
  minutes, until it becomes supple and fairly smooth. This is a sticky,
  wet dough; don't be tempted to add more flour to the work surface.
  Just dust lightly and use a dough scraper as necessary to loosen the
  dough from the table during kneading. Allow the dough to rest for 15
  minutes, covered with oiled plastic wrap. (This rest period is the
  Knead the dough 3 to 5 minutes, until it is stretchy and smooth, yet
  still slightly sticky. Shape the dough into a loose ball, place it in
  a lightly oiled bowl, and turn the dough in the bowl to coat with
  oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise
  at room temperature (75 to 77 degrees F) for about 1 hour, or until
  the dough looks slightly puffy but has not doubled.
  Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or
  preferably, overnight to let it relax, develop flavor, and become
  more manageable.
  Take the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room
  temperature for 1 to 2 hours, until it begins to warm up and starts
  to rise.
  Flour a work surface well and gently dump the dough onto it. Divide
  the dough into three equal pieces, about 13 ounces each. Gently
  flatten one piece, pressing out some of the air bubbles, and stretch
  it into a rectangle. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up
  as if you were folding a business letter. Now form the loaf into a
  short baguette by rolling the dough over from left to right and
  sealing the seam with the heel of your palm. Fold the dough over
  about 1/ 3 of the way each time, seal the length of the loaf, then
  repeat. You want to gently draw the skin tight over the surface of
  the loaf while leaving some air bubbles in the dough. Seal the seam,
  being careful not to tear the skin of the dough or deflate its airy
  structure. Do not elongate. These loaves are about 10 inches long.
  Cover an area on the work surface with a thick layer of flour and
  place the loaf, seam side down, on the flour. Repeat with remaining
  pieces of dough. The loaves will be loose and slightly irregular in
  shape. Leave plenty of space between the loaves they will spread as
  they rise. Cover the loaves with well oiled plastic and let them rise
  for 1 2 hours, until bubbly and loose.
  Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  Place a baking stone in the oven to preheat and position an oven rack
  just below the stone.
  Sprinkle a peel very generously with cornmeal. Line an upside-down
  baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle very generously with
  cornmeal. Lift one loaf, flip it over so the floured side is on top,
  and gently tug on the ends to stretch the loaf to the full length of
  the peel, or about 14 inches on a pan. Repeat with the remaining
  loaves, placing 2 on the peel and 1 on the pan. Dimple each loaf with
  your finger in about 6 places, but don't deflate them too much. Be
  sure the loaves are loosened from the peel, then carefully slide them
  onto the baking stone. Place the pan of bread on the rack below the
  stone. Using a plant sprayer, quickly mist the loaves with water 8 to
  10 times, then quickly shut oven door. Mist the loaves again after 1
  minute. Then mist again 1 minute later.
  Bake for about 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 450 degrees
  and bake 15 minutes longer or until the loaves sound slightly hollow
  when tapped on the bottom and the crust is a medium to dark brown.
  (If the crust is not brown enough, the loaves will soften as they
  cool.) Transfer the bread to a rack to cool for at least 30 minutes

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Recipe ID 28027 (Apr 03, 2005)

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