Italian Feather Bread Recipe
This is the best recipe I have found so far for home made bread. It comes from a modified Kitchenaid recipe but was originally from James Beard's Beard on Bread. Full credit to Tresses for the Kitchenaid version.
14g active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Cup just warm water (~40 celsius)
75g butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 Cup warm water
2 teaspoons salt
750g strong breadmaking flour
Ground polenta (cornmeal)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Add the cup of warm water to the mixer bowl along with the sugar and stir. Pour the yeast on top and stir gently, allow to activate for 1-2 minutes.
Meanwhile, microwave the butter gently until just melted, add the 3/4 cup of warm water.
Add the butter/water mixture to the activated yeast.
Start the mixer on 2 and add 1 cup of flour, allow to incorporate. (Scrape down the sides of the bowl if required.)
Add flour in 1/2 cup amounts, one at a time until incorporated, before adding the next.
This process can take 5-10 minutes to get all the flour into the bowl.
Allow to mix for 3-5 further minutes until smooth and springy. The mix will be quite sticky.
Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to stand for 6 minutes.
Turn onto a floured board and divide in half.
Roll each half into a rectangle about 30cm long and 20cm inches wide. Starting from the wide end, roll this up quite tightly, pinching the seams as you roll.
Place each loaf onto a baking tray that has been covered in a sheet of baking paper and sprinkled lightly with polenta.
Let the loaves rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 50 to 60 minutes.
After 30 minutes pre-heat oven to 220 celsius.
After the hour, brush each loaf with beaten egg white, put 2-3 slashes across the top and bake in the preheated 220 degree oven 40 minutes, or until the loaves are a rich, golden color and make a hollow sound when you tap the crust, top and bottom, with your knuckles.
Cool on a rack and slice when quite fresh.