Friday, April 3, 2009

Pane Toscana

For some really unknown reason, I decided last night that I had all the time in the world to make bread. I can be really stupid that way, when I decide I want something. Anyway, I've tried this recipe in the past, and found the amount of salt and sugar called for left the bread tasting like cooked paste. So, in the usual "I-know-what-I-know" fashion which is mine, I decided to alter Beth Hensperger's recipe somewhat. This worked out pretty well. I might try it again with a touch more salt, but this at least had some real flavor. Note that this is not a bread you want to try to finish off in an hour; it's a good 4 hour plus project. Fortunately, most of that 4 hours is spent doing other things while you wait for the dough to do its thing, so try it if you're bored on a Saturday afternoon (ha! like you ever are! I know you are all exciting people leading vastly entertaining lives, and only check on me to see just how dull life can be!).



1-3/4 cups warm water
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 teaspoons yeast

Put these ingredients in the bread machine mixing pan, and turn the machine on to knead for 10 minutes only. Then shut it off, set a timer and let it rest for one hour. Add:

2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Run this on the normal bread cycle in your machine, or follow my instructions for mixing by hand or in a mixer. Note that this is a sloppy and soft dough if you're not using the bread machine, so beware! Messes will abound! And I didn't get a picture of this before much of it was eaten, because one of the boys showed up, cut it, and began snacking. So I guess you could say that this revised recipe works.
Monica, as to your hard crust, I've heard that if you don't let a loaf cool befo
re you cut it, the crust will be harder, because the moisture won't migrate to the crust. I don't know that for certain, because I almost invariably finish mine in the oven, but I do know that my English Muffin Bread has a thick, hard crust (which one of my daughters absolutely adores), and I always set that on the delayed timer, and let it bake in the machine.

Oh, and I made a sponge cake last night for dessert, which my husband
said didn't have the right texture. But then he assured me that I wouldn't have to throw it out, he would eat it anyway. This is what's left this morning.


Pam said...

I really need to start baking my own bread - you make it look so easy.

I think your sponge cake looks fantastic...I still can't believe you make a homemade dessert every night - your family is so lucky.

The Blonde Duck said...

LOL! I love how he ate most of that cake!

Paula said...

So you made a bread that takes 4 hours from start to completion, AND dinner, AND dessert last night? You are not dull ... you're Wonder Woman! I love the look of this bread as well as those diagonal slices. Looks like the Sponge Cake was devoured no matter the texture! I actually really like this type of cake with powdered sugar on top. YUM!

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

I can't believe you cook, bake, home school and have time to blog. What kind of vitamins do you take?

noble pig said...

I want to slather that bread with butter and I just love it when there is a complaint but they eat it anyway. Ha!

grace said...

look at me, bored on a saturday afternoon. :)
sadly, i'm too lazy to make this and instead will continue blog hop. :)

pam said...

That's one of my favorite recipes from her book. What did you change..the whole wheat?

buffalodick said...

Home made bread never has time to get stale!

Sue said...

Dull?? With all those kids and a huge dog, your life is anything but dull.

Jan said...

Obviously the cake didn't leave that much to be desired. As they say, the proof of the pudding (dessert) is in the eating. :-) And the bread looks fab too.

Anonymous said...

so sorry to say that you make some strange looking bread. If smoothed and shaped before baking, just a little longer in the oven, or try an egg wash. That should make a better looking and tasting crust.