The Italian in the Kitchen kids arrived to a house already filled with the warm aroma of something good baking in the oven. The ingredients were out on the counter – and the kids guessed that I had already put one batch of bread in the oven to bake.
As they gathered around the island in anticipation, I pulled the large Dutch oven from my wall oven: repeating to the kids the warning “caldo, molto caldo, non toccate! non toccate!” The Dutch oven revealed a beautifully browned and crusty rustic bread, baked to perfection.
Lifting the bread from the piping hot pan, we placed it on a rack to cool and began the process of putting the ingredients together for another loaf – this time made by the children.
The recipe is for a “no knead bread” that is perfect every time and never fails to please. It is so easy to put together and the waiting time is just four hours! Quattro ore! Believe me: it is worth every minuto!
We munched on our warm bread dipped in an extra virgin olive oil I recently found and purchased at the Italian owned restaurant: La Pizzeria in Mount Pleasant – the owner a dynamic and ebullient Laura, imports the extra virgin gem from her family’s estate in her homeland of Abruzzo in Eastern Italy on the Adriatic Sea. If you haven’t been to La Pizzeria, this is definitely a must for truly authentic, wholesome Italian food made with the finest ingredients available and Laura does not settle– what is not available here, she imports from Italy – only the best at La Pizzeria!
To make the bread:
- 3 cups flour ( I use a mixture of 2 cups white and 1 cup whole wheat, sometimes I grind up 1/2 cup of oatmeal and substitute for 1/2 cup of the white)
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the water and stir with a large fork until you have a lumpy wet dough.
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a warm corner in your kitchen.
- Leave and let rise for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, turn your oven on to 450. Place Dutch oven in oven to heat up.
- Turn your dough out on to a floured work surface and fold over once.
- Cover the dough with the bowl (inverted) and place kitchen towel over bowl.
- After 1/2 hour take the Dutch oven from the oven and close the door to the oven quickly. The Dutch oven will be very hot – so use caution. Remove the lid (molto caldo) and sprinkle some flour on bottom of the pan. Using floured hands place the dough in the Dutch oven. (it will be a messy looking blob – but don’t worry – that’s the way it is supposed to look.) Cover and return to oven. (Work quickly so that your Dutch oven does not cool.)
- Set timer for 1/2 hour.
- After 1/2 hour, remove lid from Dutch oven. Turn heat up to 475 and let bread brown for 10 minutes.
- Remove Dutch oven from oven and set on heat safe surface. Remove bread immediately from pan and place on rack to cool.
Once your bread has cooled a bit, slice and enjoy with butter or extra virgin olive oil. Either way it’s delicious! Il pane e’ delizioso!