Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

When only bread will do

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There are three things in life I would find hard to live without (well... I'm sure there are more). I call them the "holy trinity" of food. Cheese, bread and wine.

I find baking very relaxing, and there is nothing more inviting than the smell of home-baked bread.

Cultures and countries have their own traditional and favourite breads, and I enjoy experimenting with them. Some can be really complicated to achieve the correct result, but others are easy.

This particular variety is from central Italy and is easy to make.

It is great fresh out of the oven served with soup or cheese and a glass of red wine. It is also great toasted the next day with jam for breakfast.

Now, when you read the method, please don't think I'm crazy or trying to fool you. Yes, you put the bread in a cold oven and then turn the oven on. As the oven heats up, the bread rises and bakes to a delicious brown crust and a soft and light crumb.

Pagnotta

1/2 oz instant yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 tsp sugar

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup warm water, extra

extra plain flour

1. Dissolve the sugar in the water, sprinkle the yeast on top, cover and stand in warm place 10 minutes or until mixture is slightly foamy.

2. Sift flour and salt into large bowl, make well in centre, pour in yeast mixture, oil and extra water.

3. Mix with your hand, until dough starts to leave side of the basin. Gather the dough together and keep kneading lightly until a smooth dough is formed. You may need a little extra water or flour to achieve this.

4. Place dough in a large plastic bag, seal with rubber band, stand in warm place about 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.

5. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead lightly just to deflate, using as little flour as possible.

6. Shape into a round, place on lightly greased oven tray, dust top thickly with extra flour, slash top as for a round opening on the top of the loaf, about 1" deep slashes. Put dough in cold oven, turn to 350 F and bake 45 minutes.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 14, 2013 D14

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