Bread from Prato
Inactive Time Overnight
Most ingredients are available in Antonio’s Market!
For the Sponge
2 oz Fresh Compressed Yeast, or 4 (8tsp) Packages Active Dry Yeast
1 cup Hot Water
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
For the Dough
2 cups Lukewarm Water
5 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt
Method of Preparation
1. To prepare the Sponge: Dissolve the yeast in the water.
2. Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in it.
3. Pour the dissolved yeast into the well and mix with a wooden spoon.
4. Cover the bowl with a cotton dish towel and let rest overnight in a warm place.
5. To prepare the Dough: The next morning, start adding the 2 cups of water a little at a time, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, to dissolve the sponge.
6. Then add the salt and 4 of the 5 cups of flour, a small quantity at a time while stirring.
7. Cover the bowl with a cotton dish towel and let rest for a 1/2 hour.
8. Line the bottom shelf of the oven with unglazed terra cotta tiles and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
9. Spread out the remaining flour on a pasta board and put the risen dough on it.
10. Knead the dough, incorporating more flour.
11. Then divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape them however you would like.
12. Wrap each loaf in a cotton dish towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
13. Unwrap the loaves and place them directly on the tiles in the oven.
14. Bake for about 1 hour.
15. Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool on a rack.
Giuliano Bugialli’s Foods of ITALY