Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Best Sandwich Bread, Italian Stecca

How did I make it this far in life without knowing about this bread? Italian stecca (stick).  I will be making this all the time now. I found this a couple days ago on a Polish blog.
It is so simple to make and no kneading involved.  It needs to sit for 24 hours so you must plan ahead.  Pour 3 C. of water into a large bowl.  Add 1 tsp. salt, 1-1/2 tsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. rapid rise yeast.  Mix in 6 C. bread flour then cover it and let it sit at room temp for 24 hours.

The next day, it will look like this.  It is very sticky.

Spread out a kitchen towel and cover it generously with flour.  This flour will not be mixed into the dough.  It just keeps it from sticking. Dump the dough on the towel and slightly deflate it.

Make sure the dough is covered with flour then fold the towel gently over the dough and set it aside to rise again for 2 hours.

Here it is after 2 hours.  Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with flour.

Cut the dough into pieces about this size.

Stretch these pieces into baguette shapes.  These will look very rustic.  Spread them with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Let them rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.

Bake them at 500  degrees for about 25 minutes until they start to turn golden.  Place them on racks to cool.

Look at this crumb!

I had made Caesar salads the day before and had leftover dressing so I tossed some lettuce with the dressing and filled the bread with it.

I added some grilled chicken too.

I can not image a better bread for a sandwich.  Stecca is like a ciabatta baguette.  It is light and chewy with a great yeast flavor.