by Manuela Caldirola, Nicoletta Negri & Nathalie Aru
There is no substitute for bruschetta, toasted garlic bread. Scented with a clove of garlic and flavored with a dash of salt, it is a delicious accompaniment to fish, shellfish, and eggplant-based dishes. When carpaccio, pecorino cheese, salad, or raw vegetables with olive-oil dip are served, Apulian bread should not be missing.
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus about 15 hours for rising.
Baking time: 45 minutes.
Ingredients for 1 loaf for 6 to 8 people:
• 5 cups (600 g) all-purpose flour
• 1 2/3 cups (400 mL) lukewarm water
• 1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp (17g) fresh yeast
• 1 tsp (8 g) malt extract
• 2 1/2 tsp (15g) salt
• extra-virgin olive oil
• durum wheat flour (for flouring)
1. The night before baking, in a large bowl, prepare the dough by mixing 2 1/2 cups (300 g) of flour with 6 2/3 ounces (200 mL) of water in which you have dissolved 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) of fresh yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise overnight.
2. The next day, in the same bowl, add 2 1/2 cups (300 g) of flour, 1 teaspoon (8 g) of malt extract, and 6 2/3 ounces (200 mL) of water in which you have dissolved the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 g) of yeast. Begin to mix and knead the dough and, just before transferring the dough to the work surface, add the salt. Knead the dough until you obtain a soft and compact ball. Grease the dough with plenty of oil and let it rest in a large covered bowl until it doubles in size (approximately 40 minutes). Then punch down the dough with a closed fist. Cover the bowl again and let it rise for another 40 minutes.
3. Remove the plastic wrap, flip the bowl over, and let the dough slide out onto a piece of parchment paper which has been well-floured with durum wheat flour. Cover the dough with a dishcloth and let rise for another 40 minutes. Bake at 425°F (220°C) for 15 minutes; then lower the temperature to 355°F (180°C) and continue baking for another 25 to 30 minutes. When the surface of the bread becomes hard, remove it from the baking sheet and transfer it to the oven rack so that the baking will be uniform.