Christine’s Italian Bread

A while back one of my former professors at U-Vic made a posting to comment on the closing of the store and to share a favourite recipe.   It’s been a long time since I was a student in the School of Environmental Studies and it’s really nice to feel the ongoing support of the community there.  Thanks to Nancy Turner and Christine Scott for sharing this recipe:

2 cups warm water
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar or honey
1 tsp salt
about 4-5 cups white flour (or whole wheat, and add oatmeal, cornmeal, sunflower seeds, flax seed or other)

Add yeast, sugar and salt to warm water and let sit until yeast is dissolved. Add flour (and other option ingredients), slowly until a thick dough consistency is reached, then knead 50-100 times, until dough is smooth (smear your hands with olive oil to prevent dough sticking to fingers). When dough is in a large ball, place in large bowl, coated with olive oil. Brush with oil, and cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. Divide dough in half, form into two oblong loaves, and place on cookie sheet, well spaced. (sprinkle corn meal or oatmeal on sheet to prevent loaves from sticking). Slash loaves with diagonal cuts, and place loaves into cold oven. Set temperature to 400 degrees and bake about 45 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

Tonight I made Christine’s Italian bread and we ate it with bowls of Portuguese Fish Soup.  I typically make ‘no-knead’ breads but tonight much enjoyed the bit of kneading, shorter rising, and lack of a resting period in this recipe.  I chose to use a cup of spelt flour, a cup of Vancouver Island Red Spring Wheat (from True Grain), and two cups of regular organic white flour.  It was great with the soup and I’m looking forward to slicing up the remaining bread and toasting it tomorrow morning.