Lulu’s Trimble Creek Lodge Crusty Italian Bread Recipe to share and enjoy!
2 TBS Yeast or 2 Packages Rapid Rise Yeast
1 ½ TBS Coarse Salt
3 Cups Hot Water
Approximately 4- 4.5 Cups Unbleached White Bread Flour
½ Cup total of Good for You Stuff (any option)
Option 1: 2 Tbs. 7 grain cereal, 1 Tbs. each flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, steel cut oats and optional chopped almonds or chia. I use all raw nuts for this.
Option 2: 1 Tbs each of the following: oat bran, steel cut oats, cracked wheat (Bulgur), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chopped almonds or chia seeds
Option 3: 2Tbs 7 grain cereal, 1 Tbs. each flax seeds, steel cut oats, sesame seeds, chia seeds or pumpkin seeds.
Optional Toppings: Olive Oil, Fresh Grated Asiago Cheese and/or Coarse Grated Salt. We enjoy Asiago!
MAKING THE DOUGH – Mix the salt into the hot water. When lukewarm, add the yeast and let bubble briefly. (The water should still feel hot but you should be able to keep your finger in the liquid without it feeling too hot!)
Stir in the flour until the dry patches are gone. The dough will be loose and wet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-5 hours or overnight for up to two weeks.
SHAPING THE ROLLS or BAGUETTES– When you’re ready to bake it, flour or wet your hands and pull off a grapefruit sized piece of the cold dough. Shape quickly (see next paragraph) on a lightly floured board or “air cloak” into 4-6 rolls, dropping onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet or baguette pan, one by one. Top the rolls with olive oil and some grated Asiago cheese. Add a turn of coarse salt for a saltier roll. Or, for a cheese-free variation, cut a slash in the top of each roll and top with a sprinkling of flour. For Baguettes “Air shape” the baguettes just like you do the rolls and pull the ends to adjust the length as you drop the dough into a baguette pan
SHAPING HINTS – When shaping the rolls, stretch the top of the dough to the bottom, pinch the bottom together and plop into your pan. It’s pretty much impossible to make the shapes exactly alike, but do try to keep the size roughly the same in each pan. This dough should not be kneaded, over floured or overworked because the extra water develops the gluten. Rolls baked in a French bread pan (baguette pan) are crispy on all sides – Lulu & the Outside Guy’s favorite! Flattened rounds baked on a cookie sheet are great for sandwich buns. I also use this dough to make focaccia breads and pizza. Just like life, this dough is messy so don’t give up if you have some trouble forming it for pizza or buns. Allow to rise until roughly double – 10-20 minutes or so, depending on the shape. The dough doesn’t mind rising longer if you forget to pre-heat your oven like I do every now and then.
BAKING THE ROLLS – Preheat oven to 450-500 degrees and put a broiler pan on the bottom shelf. When ready to bake, place the rolls in the oven and then carefully pour a cup of hot water into the hot pan. Quickly close the door so the steam stays in the oven with the rolls. Bake 15-30 minutes (depending on the size of your rolls and your oven) until nicely browned. Tear these if eating warm or cool first if you are cutting for sandwiches. Best eaten the day they are baked but they are also good sliced thinly and toasted the next day. Sometimes I pull off just enough dough for two rolls for my Outside Guy and me and they are fresh from the oven in 35minutes. Let me know how you do with this TCL favorite! Enjoy! Lulu