Baking bread, Italian style

A year and a half ago, I made my first loaf of bread. I will always remember the pride I felt when it came out of the oven, warm, smelling delicious, and tasting ever better! I had taken that first bread recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website. It was definitely intimidating but it was all worth it. A couple months later, I convinced my husband to buy a bread maker. Everyone we know assured us that we wouldn’t use it and that it would make too much bread, but we were smart about it and bought a small 1-lb loaf maker. That way, when I make bread, it’s just enough for the two of us. Since then, I haven’t bought any bread from the store (except for a few baguettes when we hosted parties and I didn’t have enough time to bake anything). The bread machine is perfect to try out new types of bread. Every time, I try different spices or nuts to add to the bread, and I like to vary between white and whole wheat flour. Although I still make the occasional bread in the oven (generally variations of Julia Child’s Irish soda bread), I definitely got lazy as the bread maker makes everything so much easier.

When I woke up on Monday morning, I was determined to make a loaf of bread in the oven. I browsed through my World Breads cookbook (I’m not going to lie, I bought it over a year ago and, although I browsed through it very regularly, I had yet to try a recipe from it) and found a simple enough, yet delicious looking Italian Florentine bread. It basically looked like a regular yummy bread with two added ingredients: fresh rosemary and Parmesan. Need I say more? I won’t post the recipe in here as I don’t know the official rules/laws on “how to post from a cookbook without being sued”, but, trust me, it’s worth buying the book! Now that I’ve tried this one, I cannot wait to try several more from the same book.

The loaves were a lot bigger than I expected. What was supposed to be two small baguette-type of bread was closer to a pain de campagne size. Next time, I’d probably make four smaller loaves instead of two, as suggested in the cookbook. The bread, when still warm, was amazing. I ate almost 1/4 of the first loaf in the afternoon, until I forced myself to put it away. I had some more with lunch today and it still tasted great. This would definitely be a great thing to make when we host dinner parties…or any other time, really. 🙂

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