Italian Stirato “Stretch” Bread Recipe

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This is quite possibly the easiest and most delicious bread recipe I have at the moment. I use recycled parchment paper — My apologies for the blending of colors in the photo 😉 This is a “no knead” bread, and requires very little hands on time. Most stretch recipes need to proof for 12-18 hours. When I don’t have that kind of time, this recipe is a good compromise, as it has a 4 hour rise time. (Or you can certainly let it go longer if you want to — that won’t hurt anything!) Due to the shortened rise time, the loaf may be a little “flatter” – but I actually like this for sandwiches.

Here’s what you need:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp dry active yeast

1 1/2 c warm water

Here’s what you do:

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the water, and stir with a wooden spoon until dough becomes formed enough to mix by hand. Continue to work ingredients together until combined. The dough will be slightly sticky. Cover the dough in the mixing bowl, and let it rise for 4 hours. I cover mine with a tea towel, and place it in my oven with the oven light on to proof , as this creates a “just warm enough” area for the dough to rise. (Thanks Julia Child!)

After 4 hours, free hand the dough onto a parchment lined baking stone.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, and cover the loaf with a tea towel until the oven is ready.

Once the oven has reached 450 degrees, remove the tea towel, and cover the loaf with an upside-down roasting pan — I’m actually not 100% sure why you are supposed to do this step, but- I do it because I’ve read that you “should.”

Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the roasting pan and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown, and cooked through. You will know it is done if you tap it with your finger, and it sounds hollow.

Enjoy!

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