I suppose I should be baking pie on Pi(e) Day, but the pie is made, so we’ll celebrate by eating it.
Today’s baking adventure is Italian supermarket bread. Some of Dr. Science’s colleagues are organizing a St. Patrick’s Day lunch with corned beef and cabbage, and one of the organizers asked Dr. Science if I’d be willing to contribute a couple of loaves of Italian bread. No, it didn’t make any sense to me, either, but it turns out that one of the organizers thinks they need bread to mop their plates, and he’s Italian, so he requested Italian bread. I know from experience that the first attempt at [insert name of baked product here] is a test, so I’m doing a test batch of Italian supermarket bread today.
Around 10:00 I made the biga, which sat there until we got home from chamber music around 6:00. It looked nice and bubbly and smelled good.
I tossed the biga and the rest of the ingredients into the bread machine and let the machine knead and proof the dough.
This recipe says to braid the bread, but, like the other KAF recipe for Italian supermarket bread, it could just make two loaves, and that’s what I want to do for Wednesday, so that’s what I did tonight. The dough weighed 1 lb 8½ oz, so I divided it into two loaves of 12¼ oz and let them rise on a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. After they’d risen for an hour, I slashed them, brushed them with egg white, and sprinkled them with sesame seeds. (I need to figure out what to do about this lighting, because the dough is white, not tan.)
Using the cookie sheet as a peel, I slid the loaves onto the baking stone. At 25 minutes, the internal temperature of the loaves was 201℉, so I propped open the oven door and I’m leaving the loaves in there to cool overnight. I think they look pretty good!
We’ll see how the crumb looks and how they taste in the morning. The only thing I’m not sure about is if that’s enough bread. I might need to scale up 50%.
Okay, time for bed.