I have been having a very open love affair with bread ever since Celia sent me Cordelia, my sourdough starter. However, when we went to Italy in October I placed my starter into the freezer and I have left it there. I just have not had the time to dedicate to making bread every weekend. Since we got back from Italy I have been watching Paul Hollywood’s program on TV called bread. He has to be one of the most good looking men on TV at the moment, and to top it all, he makes the most divine sounding and looking bread. As he does not give exact quantities on his show I went out and bought his book 100 Great Breads and the first loaf that I made from the book was Tuscan Bread. I needed bread crumbs for a recipe and decided to make this Tuscan bread so that my bread crumbs would be home made and fresh. To make the bread crumbs take day old bread, slice it thickly and place into a preheated oven at 40° Celsius for an hour and a half. Once nice and toasted, break the bread up into chunks and place in your food processor. Process until as fine as you can get them. For fine bread crumbs, use a sieve to get the finest grains. I have a left over bag of half coarse and half fine bread crumbs, and I have placed them into the freezer for the next recipe that calls for breadcrumbs.
This loaf of bread needs to be started the day before you want to eat it / use it but needs no attention during that time so you could do it after work on a Friday and have fresh bread for Saturday lunch. I did not read Paul’s introduction before making this bread, and even though he states to use 25% less dried yeast to instant yeast, I used the amount he stated, and it worked perfectly. He only uses fresh yeast in his recipes and this can be bought from your local bakery, or the bakery section of your local supermarket.
- 500g 00 flour, divided, plus extra for dusting
- 15g yeast
- 250mls water, divided
- 60mls olive oil
- Place 250g of the flour, the yeast and 150mls of the water into a bowl
- Mix until a thick dough has formed
- Cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove overnight (min 9 hours)
- Add the rest of the flour, water and olive oil and knead for 5 minutes
- Cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove for an hour
- Prepare a baking tray
- Lightly dust your worktop with flour and place the dough onto the flour
- Shape into a ball, covering the entire surface with flour
- Using a sharp knife, slash the dough in several places
- Place onto your baking tray and cover with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave to prove for an hour
- Preheat the oven to 220° Celsius
- Bake for 30 minutes and leave to cool before serving warm
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