bread #26 italian feather loaf

A few friends and their two sweet little twin boys joined us out in the country for supper this past weekend.  Knowing that I needed to keep the meal light, easy, dairy free, egg free, and of course good, I decided on a this loaf.

I brushed only one with the egg wash because of the allergy.  You will notice there is some butter in this bread, I was informed that dairy is ok in tiny amounts.  This was a nice light loaf, just like the name!  Perfect for toasting. Perfect for the poppy-seed and goat cheese spread to be layered with a lima bean gratin I had prepared.  For the gratin I just made a lemon vinaigrette and tossed in a sliced bell pepper, a sliced red onion that had been soaked in cold water for 20 minutes, and some boiled and cooled lima beans.  The goat cheese spread was just goat cheese a touch of water (or milk) to make it easier to spread mixed with a few scoops of poppy seeds.  I served it alongside a cold honey dew and basil soup with these cute little skewers of melon balls and mozzarella wrapped procsuitto.  Minus the cheese for those allergic of course.  Skewering is a perfect way for an almost three year old to help in the kitchen.  It is worth their satisfaction despite the obvious danger.  I promise, they really aren’t that sharp.

From Beard on Bread

Italian Feather loaf

Dissolve 4.5 tsp. of dry active yeast in one cup of warm water with 1 tbsp. of sugar.  I have been using organic cane sugar.  It has an extra crunch in your crumbles and buckles and you can feel a teeny bit better about sugar in general.  Minus the cost of course.  Meanwhile melt 1/3 cup of butter in 3/4 cup of hot water.  Add the salt then combine with the yeast mixture.  It will fizz and bubble.  Cool.  Begin stirring in the flour one cup at a time.  Up to 6 cups apparently but to be honest I couldn’t get it to go past 4.5 before the dough was ready to be kneaded.  So I did what I do, and I folded and smashed that dough for about four minutes.  Let it rest for five then, slice into two equal parts, and form a loaf with each one.  Folding a loaf, if I have not mentioned before is like folding a rectangle into thirds and sealing each part.  Then roll in into the complete log sealing the edges.  Place on a greased sheet tray, cover with a towel and wait about an hour or until doubled in size.  Brush with egg wash (if you want to, it does give it a nice shine) and bake at 425 for 40 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow.

Here I have a confession.  For about 20 of these breads I had a thermometer to see when the bread was done.  190 is a good temp.  But then, I lost it.  So, since then I really have been thump thumping on those loaves with my head leaned down hoping for a good hollow sound.  Well, this one is easy to tell.  Try it!  It’s fun and you feel all professional and what not.

All of the sudden, 27 breads later, baking bread has become a part of life.  It was exciting at the beginning, then it started to feel like a chore, and now it just is.  And I like that.

Try it toasted with marscapone and jam.

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