I am only slightly M.I.A.... Yes, we are still here in Italy, or as I fondly refer to it:' internet rehab'. It's been a tough rehab for me... no internet? ummmm... No internet? Breathe deep. It's been ok. I am surviving. Jonesin', but surviving.
Before we left I had these wonderful visions of me posting the meals we made at home that would be so traditionally Italian it would have you speaking fluent Italian simply after the first bite. And yes, we have those meals, a couple, for sure. Not to mention the fantastic, nay, amazing meals we have had at restaurants. And seriously folks... I thought 'they' were kidding about the food here. I assure you, 'they' are not.
The best part? The house wine is fantastic. No matter where we go it's so darn good and the food is even better. Can anyone say tartufo? Do you know about my tartufo obsession anyway? Let alone the tartufo in Italia? O.... M... G....
So, food in Italy aside, I did prepare for the possibility that I would be so comatose with delicious carbohydrates that I wouldn't be posting much. Little did I know it would be more because of the whole internet rehab thing. Either way, I did prepare a few partial posts from weeks past that I have been meaning to get up here.
And this bread? I had a dream about this bread. While I was in Italy I had a dream about this bread. This is the bread I served on The Holiday ... yes, it's been a while but I think you will find it's worth the wait.
Yield: 2 loaves
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water
1 pkg yeast
2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance ‘butter’
3 cups bread flour
Extra virgin olive oil Do:
Dissolve sugar in water and add yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes until yeast has foamed then add fennel and Earth Balance.
In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients. When just combined, turn out on a floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes.
Drizzle olive oil in the bowl, return dough to bowl and turn once, ensuring dough is sufficiently covered with olive oil.
Cover bowl and place in a warm area for about 1 hour until dough has doubled in size.
When dough has risen, olive oil two loaf pans then divide dough and form gently into pans. Return pans to the warm area, cover and let rise again for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375, place loaves into oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
When done, loaves will be golden and hard on top. Remove from oven and let cool then enjoy! Serve:
This bread is great with soups and stews as well as sandwiches, toast or just for munching.
Now, a few pictures... to keep you intrigued until the next post...