Italian Bread Dough

Yield: Makes 2 large pizzas, 2 large loaves or 12 sandwich rolls

Italian Bread Dough

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 C. (625 ml) warm water
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 T. active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 6 1/2 - 7 C. (800-875 g) bread flour

Instructions

  1. 1. Add the sugar and the yeast to the warm water. I think water temperature is probably the most crucial part of making dough. I don't get out my thermometer to measure the temperature to 110 degrees F. My rule of thumb is that the water should be comfortable for a baby's bathtub. Too cold and the yeast won't rise; too hot and you'll kill it.
  2. 2. Add the salt and half the flour. Beat well, with a wooden spoon, the paddle attachment of a Kitchen Aid or with a hand beater.
  3. 3. Add the remaining flour, one cup at a time, incorporating well. If using a Kitchen Aid, switch over to the dough hook. If using a hand beater or spoon, you'll need to begin kneading the mixture on a well-floured board. Ideally, the dough should be kneaded for about 10 minutes.
  4. 4. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Then shape as desired.
http://ciaofromdebbie.com/recipes/breadbreakfast/italian-bread-dough/

Variations:

Italian bread or rolls ““ Shape the Italian bread into two long loaves. These should be placed on a greased cookie sheet that is sprinkled with a little cornmeal. Or you may divide the Italian dough into twelve equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long oblong (almost like a hot dog bun). Place on a greased cookie sheet at least 1 ½ inches apart. Let rise until doubled. Most breads bake in a preheated oven. However, if you want your Italian bread or rolls to be crusty, place the risen rolls in a cold oven, turn the oven to 400° F (200° C) and bake for about 25-30 minutes until brown and crusty. Spraying or brushing the loaves with ice cold water before and during baking will also help to make them crusty.

Pizza ““ The Italian dough may be divided into 2 or 3 pieces and used as a pizza crust. Roll each piece into a circle or rectangle, depending on the shape of pizza you desire. Add your toppings and bake at 425° F (220° C) until crust is golden on the bottom (lift the edge slightly to peek).

Focaccia ““ Make the Italian dough, preferably using the minimum amount of flour called for. Push the dough with your fingers to fit two greased 12-inch (30.5 cm) pans or cookie sheets. Let rest for 30 minutes, then make indentations with your fingers and sprinkle with olive oil, basil, rosemary or Parmesan””whatever you’d like. Bake at 425° F (220° C) for about 15-20 minutes. Delicious with homemade soup!

Calzones ““ For individual calzones, pinch off pieces of dough and roll out into 5-6 inch (12-15 cm) circles. Place fillings on half of the circle. You can try things like pepperoni and mozzarella, spinach sautèed with garlic in olive oil, broccoli sautèed with mushrooms in olive oil””whatever you’d like. One of our favorites is equal parts minced ham, shredded mozzarella and ricotta mixed together””especially if I have leftover filling when making Cannelloni (p. 141). After placing filling on the dough, fold the dough over the filling, moistening the edges of the dough so it seals together when you pinch it closed. You may bake them immediately on a greased cookie sheet””no need to let them rise. Bake at 400° F (200° C) for 25-30 minutes. You may also deep fry the calzones in hot oil.

Step-by-Step Calzones

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