Recipe by Sweetiebarbara
Excellent as loaves or buns; this bread has integrity! Crusty on the outside and tender on the inside. Wonderful as a sliced bread to serve with spaghetti or as buns that will hold your sloppy juicy sandwich or burger together.
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons yeast (1 pkg, active, dry)
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1⁄4 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal (as much as it takes, for dusting and keeping things from sticking)
Directions See How It's Made
- Sift out 4 cups of flour onto middle of table or work space.
- Put yeast, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the flour into a medium bowl and whisk until well blended.
- Add the warm (110° - 115°) water, mix well, and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Lightly oil (olive oil, maybe 1 teaspoon or less) another medium bowl (one that is heavy and holds heat).
- When yeast is bubbly and smells yeasty, add 2 more cups of flour and the second teaspoon of sugar.
- Mix until flour is incorporated, then add the olive oil.
- Turn out of bowl onto flour (the remaining one cup of flour) on the table and knead for 10 minutes.
- Place dough in oiled bowl turning over to coat all surfaces.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot (I put mine in an unlit oven with the light on) to rise, about 45 minutes.
- Spray cooking spray on 2 medium cookie sheets and set aside.
- When dough has about doubled, punch down and make into desired shapes.
- To make loaves, divide into 2 portions. flatten into rectangle about 4" x 12", folding the 12" sides toward the center and pinch together, also pinch the ends. sprinkle cornmeal on pans and place pinched seam down.
- Sprinkle more cornmeal on top and sides of loaves and cover gently with plastic wrap then place a light towel on top (to keep them cozy warm).
- To make buns, divide dough into 8 portions and pinch into round shapes, putting the pinched side down, in the same manner with the loaves. (The tension created by pinching, or sealing any open seams allows the bread to rise instead of just spreading sideways like a blob.).
- Let rise again for another 45 minutes.
- During this time, I check to make sure the bread is not sticking to the plastic, adding more cornmeal, if it is. Even if the bread sticks and falls as you pull the plastic away, it does no great damage, the bread just looks ugly, (tastes fine).
- Put the bottom of your broiler pan in the bottom of the oven and heat the oven to 425°. (make sure that the pan is very close to the oven door.).
- When temp is reached, put bread into oven (back a little from the door), pour 2 cups cold water into broiler pan, and turn temp down to 400°.
- Bake 20-30 minutes. I usually check after 20 minutes and give more time as needed.
- I brush off all the excess cornmeal and slice the buns before they get too cool.