I’ve been stuck in a bit a of a bread rut lately. I’ve just been making a few of my favorite recipes. So I decided to try something new. This rustic Italian bread starts with a sponge which sits for several hours. Then you make the dough and bake the bread. It is a nice crusty loaf. This turned out to be an excellent sandwich bread!
I served this with some Turkey Tetrazzini made from the leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Yum!
Rustic Italian Wheat Bread
For the sponge starter
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp gluten
- 1/4 tsp SAF yeast
For the bread dough
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp gluten
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 tsp SAF yeast
- yellow cornmeal
For the sponge starter (ABM)
- Place the starter ingredients in the bread pan.
- Start the dough cycle.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, Unplug the machine.
- Let sit in the machne for 4 or more hours.
For the sponge starter (by hand)
- In a large bowl, combine all of the starter ingredients.
- Cover and let sit in a warm location for 4 or more hours.
For the dough (ABM)
- Add all of the dough ingredients to the starter in the pan.
- Use the dough cycle.
- The dough will be sticky.
For the dough (by hand)
- Add all of the dough ingredients to the starter ingredients in the bowl of your electric mixer.
- Beat for 5 minutes. (Dough will be sticky.)
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Shape and bake the dough (ABM or by hand)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Turn the dough onto a floured work surface. Knead for about 10 turns.
- Shape the dough into a slightly oval round and place on the baking sheet.
- Cover and let rise until tripled in size – about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife, once down the middle.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. When done, it should sound hollow when tapped.
- Cool for at least 15 minutes, then slice.