Monday, March 21, 2011


If you know me well, you know I love to bake. It is a hobby and something I do to relax, to keep me busy, to enjoy and to share with others. Baking is one of those things that when you find a good recipe, whether it be for cake, bread or cookies, you stick with it. Why mess with a good thing? Lately I've been baking some bread and I'll be posting some of my favorite recipes. Today I'm sharing a rustic Italian loaf that has a hearty crumb and a robust flavor.

This recipe was adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking
Makes 2 large loaves

For the sponge:
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup dark beer
3 cups room temperature water
1 cup semolina flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 tbsp sea salt

About 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour for the work surface and pan

The night before you wish to enjoy this bread, prepare the sponge by mixing all ingredients until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

To make the dough, transfer the sponge to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flours and salt. With dough hook, knead on low speed and add a little (I usually have to add about 3/4 cup) more flour as needed for the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl after a few minutes. (Note that this makes a wet dough so don't be surprised by it's softness.)

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise 1 1/2-2 hours.

Flour a cookie sheet with about 3/4 cup additional flour. Bounce dough in flour to make a nice big ball. Let rise for 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

Gently cut dough in half down the middle to make to loaves. Carefully turn loaves onto their sides to have the ruff cut end facing up. Bake immediately for 35-45 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the breads sit in the oven for 10 more minutes to set the crust. Enjoy warm or cooled!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love baking for the same reasons you is relaxing:) I'm so glad you're posting recipes of what you enjoy baking, too! After doing our (weird) eating challenge, we've found that gluten doesn't sit as well with us. So, I'm off to explore another chapter in the world of baking:)