Muffaletta Bread

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1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 package active dry yeast (about 1 Tbsp.)
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
Sesame seeds
In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, combine water and sugar. Stir in
yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
In a food processor
fitted with the steel blade, combine 3 cups flour, salt and
shortening. Add yeast mixture. Process until dough forms a ball,
about 5 seconds. Stop machine; check consistency of dough. It
should be smooth and satiny. If dough is too dry, add more warm
water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, processing just until blended. If dough
is too sticky, add more flour, 1 or 2 Tbsp at a time, processing
just until blended. Process 20 seconds to knead.
Lightly oil a large bowl, swirling to coat bottom and sides. Place
dough in oiled bowl; turn to coat all sides. Cover bowl with
plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled
in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Lightly grease a baking sheet. When dough has doubled in bulk,
punch down dough; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Form
dough into round loaf about 10 inches in diameter; place on greased
baking sheet. Sprinkle top of loaf with sesame seeds; press seeds
gently into surface of loaf. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap;
let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 1 hour. Place rack in center
of oven.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove plastic wrap. Bake loaf in center
of preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 F; bake 25
minutes. The loaf is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on
bottom.
Cool completely on a rack before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.

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