Rustic Italian Loaf

A fermented starter gives this rustic loaf bread a lovely sour flavor.

"The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Family Recipes from Around the World" by Victoria Blashford-Snell, copyright 2008.

Rustic Italian Loaf

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    1 cup bread flour, for starter 3 1/4 cups Bread flour
    1/4 tsp instant yeast, for starter 2 tsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
    1/3 cup tepid water, for starter 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
    1 1/2 cups tepid water 1 tsp salt


    Prep: 30 min Total: More than 60 min
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    • 1

      For the starter, stir the flour, yeast, and water in a bowl until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, coat with oil, and cover. Let stand in a warm place for at least 12 hours, until it triples in volume and has an acidic aroma.

    • 2

      The next day, combine the starter and water in a large bowl. Add the flour, oil, yeast, and salt and stir until the dough comes together. It will be very wet and sticky. Fold the dough over on itself in the bowl for a few minutes, until it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

    • 3

      Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

    • 4

      Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Lightly oil a baking sheet. Punch down the dough. Knead the dough on a floured work surface until smooth and elastic. Mold the dough into an oval shape. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Let cool on a wire rack.

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