Friday, January 11, 2008

Pane Toscana

I decided last night to make bread with a simple starter. I found this recipe in Beth Hensperger's Bread Machine Cookbook. It can be made from start to finish in the bread machine, although I prefer to "play with" my bread dough and form my own loaves. I did make some changes to the original recipe, which I'll explain at the end.

PANE TOSCANA (Tuscan Bread)


1-3/4 cups water
2-1/2 tsp. yeast
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour

Put these ingredients in your machine and set it for the dough cycle. Let it mix for 10 minutes, then turn it off and leave the starter sitting in the closed bread machine for one hour. This is what you will see:

After one hour, add:

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

Restart the bread machine to mix these with the starter. Afte
r about 15 minutes, when the dough is completely mixed, remove from the machine and form into 2 round, country style loaves. Let them rise for an hour or more, until doubled in size, then bake 35 to 40 minutes at 375.

Original instructions:

Instead of 1 teaspoon each sugar and salt, use only a pinch of each. I tried this, and, frankly, the bread tasted like baked paste. Maybe it would be great dipped into a really spicy marinara sauce, but it was far too bland for my family.

Instead of calling for forming the loaves, the original recipe calls for the bread machine to be set on the French Bread setting with a dark crust, and removed from the pan when done.

Also, the recipe notes that this does not make good toast. I have no opinion on that.


Anonymous said...

Ok, this is spooky! I was just logging in to send you a msg about the bread I made with a starter when I read your msg.! Great minds think alike! My bread turned out ok ...not great, not bad, just ok. It looks beautiful, but the flavor is not what I'm trying to create. I got the recipe out of a Mediterranean Cookbook and it had rave reviews. Oh well, to each his own. The starter took 3 days to "cure", and it performed beautifully. I have some of the starter set aside, but I don't know if I'll use it or just stick to good old yeast. I just found an old recipe that I'm HOPING is my grandma's. She never once bought a loaf of bread ... always made it about every 2 days or so. It's one of those things that I should have learned, but didn't. Anyway ... I'll give it a shot. It's a pinch of this and that type of thing, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Marjie said...

I had a sourdough starter for about a year, but the kids were much less than enthused about sourdough bread, so I gave it up. I'd love to try your grandma's bread if that's what you found!

Debbie Cook said...

I'm trying this today. The starter is mixing as I type. I'll post results on my blog either later today or tomorrow. Now, up to the sewing room!