We all search for things in life. Love, the perfect pair of pants, the most super fabulous vacation.
My quest: bread cookbooks. Not just any bread cookbooks. I want one that makes me a bread baking champion. A recipe where I can cavort around the kitchen saying “Yeah, I made this…no big…”
Major magic happening in this cookbook. Thank you Kathleen Weber! This loaf was cooked in a cast-iron pot; best crust, best texture. Why haven’t I done this before?
When I’m lucky enough to spend the day in downtown Petaluma, Della Fattoria is my favorite stop. I’ll graze their bakery goods for hours. No joke.
Some people are intimated to make bread. It’s unfortunate. Great tasting bread can be made at home. I promise.
If you’ve wanted to try…start with this book. Kathleen makes bread baking approachable and gives you pro tips to nudge you along the way.
Thomas Keller’s forward shares a fun window into how they met. And Martha Stewart makes an appearance to Della Fattoria by helicopter. Serious. Their bread is that good.
Bread recipes include: yeasted, enriched, pre-fermented, naturally leavened, crackers, pizza doughs and flatbread.
The first recipe I tried was the white sandwich bread. Calling it white bread doesn’t do it justice. Honestly.
Della Fattoria White Sandwich Bread
8 g, or 2-1/4 tsp instant yeast
472 g, or 2 cups warm water
630 g, or 4-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
14 g, 2-1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
9 g, or 2-1/4 tsp evaporated cane juice sugar
40 g, or 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Lightly oil a 5 quart glass bowl.
- For sponge: put yeast, water, and half of the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix on low to combine, about 1 minute. It’s ok to have small lumps in the flour. Let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together remaining flour, salt, and sugar.
- Once the surface of the sponge is bubbly, pour the olive oil over the top, and mix on the lowest speed to incorporate. Add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times on the lowest setting, then mix on low speed for 1 minute to combine.
- Remove the paddle attachment, scraping any dough from the paddle and the sides back down into the bowl. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and mix on low speed for 6 minutes.
- Flour the work surface. using a bowl scraper, turn out the dough and knead a few times. The dough will be smooth and tacky. Place it in the 5 quart glass bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1-1/2 – 2 hours.
- Generously oil a 4 quart round cast iron pot. Using your hands and a bench scraper, shape the dough into a boule and place seam side down in the pot.
- Brush the top of the dough with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 1-1/2 – 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Set a baking stone on it, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- For final baking, remove the plastic wrap and gently brush loaf with olive oil. Place pot on stone and bake for 50 minutes, carefully remove the loaf from the pot and put it on the baking stone for 5-10 minutes to brown the sides and bottom more evenly.
- Transfer to a cooling rack. Your done!
Makes 1 (2.5 lbs. boule)