I love bread. I am still a genuine Dutch person and I cannot get enough of sandwiches. Unfortunately (well, it’s really not that unfortunate), eating sandwiches (panini) for lunch like we do in the Netherlands is not really an Italian thing. Perhaps only when you’re in a hurry or as a snack, but often in Italy, they take time to eat properly. It’s in the mornings that they rush their food.
Nonetheless, I need my weekly amount of bread and even though the bread in Italy is not bad and certainly contains fewer preservatives than Dutch bread, there is still nothing better than home made bread. Now I never made my own bread in the Netherlands (so, when I say “there’s nothing better than home made bread”, I don’t really know what I’m talking about), because I simply lacked time. However, now that I have more time available, I’ve been trying some recipes to bake my own bread in the oven ( I don’t have any fancy machines to aid me in the process).
Below, I’ll share with you the recipe of my favourite bread so far. I have to say: it’s really good (I’m amazed myself).
250 grams of white flour
150 grams of integral flour
100 grams of semola
300 ml of water
15 grams of fresh yeast
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of honey
1/2 tbsp of salt
1 tbsp of flexseed
1 tbsp of chiaseed
Some extra white flour
1.Take a big bowl and mix all the flour with the salt. Using a fork or spoon to mix them is more than enough.
2.Take a small bowl and mix the fresh yeast with three tablespoons of water (again, using a fork for the mixing will be just fine) and let it ferment for 15 minutes.
3.Now add the fermented yeast to the flour and then add the olive oil and honey. Stir it all and add the water step by step, while you mix the ingredients. At some point you will have to start kneading a little bit and use your hands to create a nice ball with the dough. Make sure that the ball of dough is neither too wet nor too dry. (If it sticks to your hand, it’s too wet, if it falls apart, it’s likely too dry). Then put a little bit of flour on top and around it. Keep the dough inside the big bowl and put a moisty towel on top of the bowl.
4.The dough needs to rise now, so let it rest for three hours until it has become twice its original size.
5.After those three hours make sure that you have a clean working space in your kitchen and sprinkle some flower across that surface. Then put the dough on your kitchen counter (assuming this will be your working space) and start to flatten it until you have a square shape.
6.Sprinkle a little bit of the flexseed on your square shape and start folding the four corners of your sheet of dough towards the middle and really press those corners into the dough again, so that you’ll create a slighlty thicker, but smaller square. Now sprinkle some chiaseeds on top and repeat the corner process. Sprinkle another amount of chiaseeds and flexseeds on the dough, repeat the folding of the corners and try to create an oval shape.
7.The dough needs to rise for another hour. Place it on a baking tray with a sheet of paper and put it in a turned off oven. It’s the easiest way to let it rise.
8.After an hour you take the dough and the paper out, put it on a cutting board and leave it there, while you warm the oven. Put the baking tray in the oven, without the dough and the sheet of paper. Place a bowl with water at the bottom of the oven and turn the oven on: 250 degrees Celsius. Leave it at that temperature for approximately 20 minutes, until the oven has heated.
9. Make about three superficial incisions in the dough, on the topside. Take out the bowl of water and the baking tray and put your dough together with the sheet of paper on the baking tray again and put it back inside. Turn the temperature down to 220 degrees Celsius and leave the bread in the oven for about 35 minutes (keep an eye on your bread, because every oven is different).
It seems like a lot of effort and you certainly need to stay home when you’re baking a bread, however, most of the time you’ll be just waiting and you can easily do other things. The actual preperation time takes only thirty minutes.
And then you’ll have a delicious home made bread with the ingredients of your choice.
From Italy with love,
p.s. you can leave out the flexseeds and chiaseeds if you like.