Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lunch, Italian Style, and a recipe for Panino

When ever I find myself missing home, and family, the best way to feel better is to eat something that reminds me of home. In this case, fresh baked Italian Panino (bread rolls) some hard salami, cheese (of any variety) and wine. Depending on the mood, I'll eat the bread with Balsamic Vinegar, or just like my Nana used to provide for me when ever I was hungry for a snack, I'll microwave the bread and throw a little margarine on it! Yum!

I've been working towards making bread the way my nana does, which is no easy task when I'm half way across the country, and I'm pretty sure there is no recipe, just he innate knowledge of how much flour to use for just about anything. Also the batches she makes are way to large for my tiny oven. Here's my best attempt yet, which made 8 rolls.

Into my bread maker, I add, in the following order: 

2 cups warm water
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast

Then throw on the dough cycle, which takes about an hour and a half to run. I always help it out with a spatula for the first minute, to make sure there is the right balance between dry and wet (adding more water or flour as needed). Here in Calgary, I find I always need to add more water, so if you have the pleasure of living somewhere less dry, 2 cups might be too much for you.

Once it's done, turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and beat some of the air out of it. Then cut it into eight equal parts, and shape them into rolls. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for another 30 or so minutes (or until they've doubled in size). Then slice the tops with a knife if you want... I'm not sure that this step was necessary, might not do it next time. Now at this point you could egg wash the rolls... but I'm pretty sure Nana doesn't do that, so right into the oven (pre-heated to 375') they go.

Bake for 30 minutes and then pull them out and slide them off your baking try so they can cool. Resist the temptation to eat them right away...I promise you you'll burn your mouth on hot bread. Instead pour a glass of wine and enjoy the fact that your whole apartment smells like wonderful bread baking.

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