November 21, 2008

Pip's Famous Pane Toscano


baguette earrings from here


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How Pip Makes Bread
You DO need 10 cups of flour.
It makes 3 free-form loaves.


Make the starter first - it's easy.
1 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water - NOT too hot
3 cups of white flour (bakers flour or unbleached)
1 cup cold water
Add the yeast to the warm water. Wait till it goes frothy. Then mix in the flour and the rest of the water. I do this in the Kitchen Aid or Food Processor. Put in a DEEP bowl in the fridge - with plenty of room for it to grown. Leave until tomorrow.

Make the dough - it's easy.
This will make about 3 small loaves.
1 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water - NOT too hot
7 cups of white flour (bakers or unbleached)
1 tbsp sea salt
3 cups of cold water
a splash of olive oil
HALF of the starter you made (freeze the rest for a jump start to the next batch - you'll thank me later*)
Polenta or flour to stop the bread sticking to the trays
(* you'll need to defrost it to room temperature before use)


Dissolve the yeast in the warm water as before. Put the flour into a really big mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast/water mix, salt, cold water and starter (remember you're only using half of the starter we made). Now mix it all together - you can do this in a KitchenAid on slow (but be prepared for a few floury clouds!) - or by hand. I don't use my hands - just a wooden spoon and plenty of elbow grease - it's a really sticky dough.
Mix it until it's all clinging together and not just sticking to the sides of the bowl. But don't agonise too much - 5 minutes 'by hand' with a wooden spoon or 2 minutes in the Mixer sounds great. Tip it out onto a floured surface and shape into a rough ball - clean your bowl thoroughly - oil the clean bowl with olive oil and pop the dough back in. Cover with a towel and put in a warm, draught-free place.


TURN YOUR OVEN ONTO 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C.


When the dough has doubled - punch it down (just think of all the things that are making you cross and lay into it a bit) and let it rise again until doubled. Then turn it out onto a floury surface and cut into three (or you can do what Amy does. Keep the dough bowl in the fridge and just cut off what you want each time you need bread! The dough will improve with age and your bread will be slightly different each time!)


Sprinkle two good sized oven trays with polenta or flour and pop your just-cut freeform loaves onto them. Sprinkle the tops with flour for good luck and good looks. Bake in a HOT oven for 20 to 30 minutes - checking towards the end. If they are ready they will be golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. I often take them off their trays for the last 5 minutes for extra good crust action!

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as seen here

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