3 medium russet potatoes, cooked, mashed, cooled
2 tsps salt
1/2 cup reserved potato water, lukewarm
7 g or 2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast
2 Tbps olive oil
4 3/4 cups high gluten flours (flour for making bread)
optional: spoonful of dry oregano or dill
1 to 3. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm potato water for 5 mins. Then mix it with potato, salt and olive oil. Gradually add in flour, knead, it looks dry and crumbly (pic 1) in the beginning, but it'll come together soon (pic 2). For a while you feel the dough very sticky but don't be tempted to add too much extra flour; later on it turns out just slightly sticky but not wet (pic 3). Knead the dough until smooth, covered and rise for 30 mins. It will have risen noticeably, although it may not have doubled. Pre-heat the oven 375F, place a baking stone in.
4 - 6. Cut the dough in half, take one half, flatten, start rolling from one end until almost to the other end, gently pull that end, stretch it gently, dust its edge with flour, and finish rolling. Rock back and forth a little to taper the ends. Repeat the other dough.
7. Places the doughs on the floured towel, seam side down, covered, rise for 20 mins.
8. When ready to bake, throw three ice cubes onto the oven's flour, shut the door immediately. Transfer the doughs by using the peel (baking sheet for me), let it roll onto the baking stone, seam side up. Before you last shut the door, throw two more ice cubes in. Bake the bread until the crust very brown, 45 - 50 mins, you should hear the hollow sound when you tape the loave bottom. Rest them 20 mins before slicing.
Leslie suggested putting butter when the bread's warm. I slathered this bread with dill cheese... wish that time there's a dish of mussels in white wine sauce sitting in front of me too.
This is how the bottom crust looks like.One Italian bakery in my town makes superb bread, they're mostly very simple and rustic. My favorite is the semolina roll (left). However, some Italian bakeries sold their business to non-Italian people, things have never been the same...