How To Make Dough - Easy Steps For
Your Italian Bread

There are many methods on how to make dough for bread. First rule is that it requires patience and care. There is no better kitchen tool than your own hands, because their heat allows the ingredients to be activated during making it.

So the choice of ingredients is equally important, first of all the yeast. Of course, the best and more natural bread is obtained by using sourdough that is natural yeast, but if this is not available, it can be replaced with dry yeast or brewer's one.

This "homemade method" requires a minor leavening of the dough the technique of "stretch and folding", an Italian secret that will make it more stable and strong during shape leavening process. Other very important detail for the success of the dough is the choice of flours.

There are the so-called strong and weak flours: a strong flour is good for long leavening. The weak flours are good for short leavening. You can know the strenght of a flour from its content in protein. Around 10% in protein the flour is weak. Between 11% and 12% is mid. From 13% of protein the flour is strong. Manitoba or some Spelt or Kamut flours can have even 16%, so very strong. It's important to refresh the sourdough with a strong flour to ensure optimal leavening to the dough.

Let's Start Kneading

The night before making the bread, take sourdough and refresh it, bearing in mind that for 35 oz of flour takes 3.5 oz of sourdough. This is a way about how to make dough by refreshing the sourdough: add a quantity of flour and water to have sufficient amount for bread and for a dough surplus to be stored in the refrigerator, to make other doughs later.

Now hydrolysis of sourdough is required to have a good bread. The next morning take enough sourdough in a quantity 1:10 to the flour and dissolve it with 1 teaspoon of honey in two cups of water. Mix well and allow to rest for at least ½ hour. This process enables sourdough to melt and soak with water and honey sugar, so as to activate fermentation of leavening.

After half an hour, add enough flour to selected sourdough to create a soft, slightly sticky and especially well homogeneous mixture. Knead until the dough will not have reached the above mentioned characteristics.

Rise and Shape It

Place the dough in a bowl of ceramic, glass or clay, or leave it in the kneading machine, cover with a damp white cloth and place the container on a surface of wood, straw or ceramic. And the first dough is ready to rest.

When the dough has doubled it is time to give it shape: close it towards the surface touching the work plan, taking the side flaps of the dough and bending them inwards.

Put the dough on the baking sheet and cover it once again with a damp cloth and a plastic sheet. If you made a very hydrated dough, you can put it in a basket with a towel and a veil of flour. Allow to stand for at least 2-4 hours depending by temperature and season. At this point the shape kneaded should be doubled and ready to be baked.

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How To Make Dough