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BBA #15: Italian Bread [Mar. 11th, 2014|11:35 am]
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I did this one a while back, and didn't write it up. Partially because it was very much like the French bread in the process: make a preferment the night before, knead it all together the next day, shape loaves.

The difference was in the recipe. Whereas the French bread called for only the basics of flour, water, yeast and salt, the Italian bread added milk and oil. I'm not really 100% certain how authentic the recipe is because of that, but I'm making them from the book, so I'm making them by the book.

Where things really got different was in the shaping process. The recipe makes two large loaves or eight hoagie/torpedo/sub rolls. It just so happened that on the day I was making this bread our gaming group was coming over, I was making pulled pork (an extremely bastardized pulled pork that included a bunch of root vegetables to up the nutrition and was pronounced delicious), and decided that, as there are four of us in the group, I would make one large loaf and 4 rolls.

I divided the dough evenly, and formed the large loaf, which I prepped sliding onto the baking stone with a peel.

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Then it was on to dividing the remaining half into four even sized rolls. In retrospect, I should have formed a second loaf, and then cut it, because trying to divide an uneven half-circle was not my forte:

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...yeah.

The thing about the gluten skin on well-developed dough is that you can mess it up pretty easily. I couldn't just be whacking some of it off of one roll and smooshing it into another roll. so I was stuck with a sort of "Three Bears" situation: Papa, Mama, Baby, and Goldilocks.

Still, they baked up pretty:

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As did the main loaf:

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As for the flavor, Ferrett pronounced it to be the first bread I've made that actually evoked sense memory of the bread he ate in Italian restaurants back home. And no one except my gaming group got to taste it because they had their pulled pork on their hoagie rolls and then went on to devour the entire loaf of bread. I'd call it another success.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: dr_phil_physics
2014-03-11 03:55 pm (UTC)

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Baking bread is an amazingly satisfying experience. Mrs. Dr. Phil survived grad school by baking her own bread (cheaper) and working out her frustrations by pounding the hell out of it. (grin) And your loaves looked wonderful!

Dr. Phil
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 04:09 pm (UTC)

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Thank you. I definitely find kneading to be therapeutic.
[User Picture]From: labelleizzy
2014-03-11 08:47 pm (UTC)

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beautiful bread, bb. thanks for sharing with the rest of us!
[User Picture]From: cynic51
2014-03-11 11:13 pm (UTC)

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Have you ever made a bread your gaming group didn't devour?
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-12 02:29 pm (UTC)

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I think there was the end of a loaf left behind once....
From: anonymousalex
2014-03-12 02:16 am (UTC)

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Because of where the first photo was cut off on my browser, I can't stop tittering like an 11-year-old girl.

I am very immature, and you make beautiful bread.

-Alex
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-12 02:30 pm (UTC)

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I did not even notice that as a possibility. LOL!
[User Picture]From: alexmegami
2014-03-12 08:31 pm (UTC)

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Ooooooh, that looks delicious.

I made cinnamon roll loaf on Monday because CARBS, THAT'S WHY (ahem) and it was pretty tasty! My problem is I don't often buy milk, so I have to hunt for recipes that don't use it, or make a special trip to the store...
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-13 12:30 am (UTC)

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Dry milk. Get high quality, keep it in the freezer. You will always have milk for baking.

(We go through about 4 gallons of milk a week. Not buying milk is bizarre to me. But I use dry milk powder in baking to better control the moisture.)
[User Picture]From: alexmegami
2014-03-13 04:20 am (UTC)

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...i'mma be honest, I didn't even know dry milk was a thing. I shall hie me to the store this weekend!
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-13 12:43 pm (UTC)

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You've never heard of powdered milk? Wow.
[User Picture]From: alexmegami
2014-03-13 07:13 pm (UTC)

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Nope. Condensed milk and evaporated milk, but not powdered. I've seen powdered coconut milk, though, so I don't know why the idea that one could do that with regular milk didn't occur to me.
[User Picture]From: ladyjaneinlace
2014-03-17 12:11 am (UTC)

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I've been reading your baking entries for a long time, but I think I've lost sight of what book you're baking from? I'd love to try Italian bread.