The warm kitchen smells of baking homemade bread bring me back to my youth. My mother used to bake a half-dozen loaves a week. I learned at a young age how to bloom the yeast, mix the dough by hand, knead it to the correct elasticity, and then have patience to let it rise two times! Baking with my mom taught me many life lessons, especially patience. I still enjoy baking to this day, thanks Mom!
Begin with a large stainless steel bowl and add the salt, sugar,
and extra virgin olive oil to a cup of boiling water.
Start your yeast to bloom with a packet of bread yeast,
a tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.
As soon as the salt and sugar dissolves, add an additional cup of cold water.
Then start adding the 3 cups of flour, slowly, folding it in, and then beating with a wooden spoon.
Mix thoroughly and then pour in the dissolved yeast and stir again.
The remaining 2 cups of flour would be added slowly
until it was stiff enough to knead on a floured bread board.
Folding and pushing and folding the dough over and over for roughly 10 minutes was the best part. You would add flour until the stickiness went away, and you could feel the dough’s elasticity and smoothness. We would talk or listen to the radio while kneading the dough in a rhythm all our own. Then into another stainless steel bowl lightly oiled with olive oil the dough would be placed. Place a towel over the top or a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the bowl. Find a warm place in the kitchen to allow the dough to double in size. I suggest the top of the refrigerator or a warmed oven that was then turned off. Wait until the dough is doubled in size and then touch lightly. The dough should not spring back but should leave an indentation. Then we would punch down the dough, split it in two, and shape our loaves. Place the loaves into two greased loaf pans, cover and let rise until it above the edge of the pans. Bake in a oven at 375° for 25-35 minutes or when tapped the crust sounds hollow. Cool pans 10 minutes, loosen bread from the sides of the pan with a spatula and then release bread onto a cooling rack.
Enjoy eating this delicious bread while it is still warm! Dip in your favorite Evergreen Olive Oil, flavored or unflavored and a dash of our Tuscany Bread Dipping Seasoning or a splash of our deliciously flavored balsamic vinegars! Enjoy with family and friends!
If you prefer a no-knead bread recipe, we suggest you check out Bread Toast Crumbs by our friend Alexandra Stafford.
While you are there, check out her recipes and blog for lots of great tips! You can also pick up a copy of her book in our Niskayuna store!