8 cups of bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp instant dried yeast
4 tsp salt
4 cups warm water
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt together. Add the instant dried yeast to to the bowl of flour, along with the remaining 4 cups of warm water & the olive oil. Mix it with your hands, adding additional flour until you have a smooth ball of dough, then cover the bowl with a damp towel & place it in a warm spot to rise.
In a couple of hours, the dough will double in size. At this point, de-gas the dough by kneading it with your fists (while continuously folding it in thirds). Then place it back into the bowl to rise a second time (about an hour).
When that is done, it is time to form the dough into loaves. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board, divide the dough in half and gently shape into ovals or circles. Dust with flour and set aside to rise for about 30 minutes while the oven is preheating to 400 degrees.
Gently lift the bread and place it on a well-floured pizza peel or a well-floured piece of heavy cardboard. Slide onto the baking stone or cookie sheet in an oven.
I bake the bread for approximately 30 minutes in our oven, but each oven is different. If you thump on the bottom of the loaf and the sound is hollow, the bread is done.
When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool. We store them in a brown paper bags.
OK, wrr, so happy we are able to chat about bread. I used to make artisan breads, but my experience was that it is only good the first day, and it doesn't freeze well. I never understood this--the handmade bread I get at the grocery store (HEB) does freeze well. What do I not know? Are they using preservatives? Does yours keep well?
It is always at its peak when its fresh out of the oven... the same can be said for just about any bakery product though. I normally bake bread every 3rd day & store it in a plain paper bag to help keep the crust crunchy. Any unused 'old' bread becomes breadcrumbs.
While I don't freeze bread, I do divide the uncooked dough into 2 or 3 balls & store them in the refrigerator (up to 3 days). When needed, I can one out. Shape it, let it rise & then bake.
I really like baking different breads. Since I retired, it has become one of my favorite hobbies!!!
Oh, you knead it all right. It keeps just fine (3 or 4 days), although it is always best fresh out of the oven, as I said earlier.
BTW, I used to live in Chippewa Falls.
Anna_Z wrote:Ok, could you PU-LEEZE give a short direction on how you do the Stromboli? That looks totally yummy. And I LOVE baking bread.
Sure thing Anna:
First, I mixed the dough by hand until it is a smooth ball & then place it into greased bowl. It is covered with a damp dish towel and allowed to rise for 4 hours. Once it was time to bake them, I removed the dough & place it on lightly floured counter. I stretched the dough as thin as possible. A rolling pin was then used to get a consistent thickness (about 1/8 inch thick) and a nice rectangular shape.
The filling was placed on the center of the dough leaving a 1 inch edge all around. I rolled the entire Stromboli like a jelly roll so that it formed a long cylindrical loaf. The edges were pinched and tucked under. At this point, I let it rest for about 30 minutes to get a little bit of more rise out of the dough.
Now I then cut a few slits on the top of the loaf to allow steam to escape during baking (be careful not to cut the loaf too much or you will have a 'blowout').
Next, I beat an egg in a small bowl, added some water to make a wash and brushed the outside of the loaf with it. This allows the crust to turn a golden brown color and gives it a bit of a crunch.
This Stromboli was baked on a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees... although I pretty much just watch it until the crust turns brown. Then I took it out, let it 'rest' for 15-20 minutes before cutting & serving. Serve it with some sauce on the side & I guarantee that you & your family will love it!!!