- 4 cups bread-flour (high gluten flour)
- 1 oz. brewers yeast or compressed yeast
- pinch of salt
- 1 pt. of water
How to make the IMPASTO PER PANE:
Place the flour on a wooden board and make a hole in the center. Dissolve the yeast in a cup of lukewarm water and place in the middle. Work the mixture with the tips of your fingers, adding the rest of the lukewarm water a little bit at a time and the salt, until the dough no longer sticks to your fingers. Knead the dough for an additional 15 min. Form a ball, make a cross-shaped cut with a sharp knife on the top. Wrap in a dry cloth and let it rest in a warm place for half an hour, or until doubled in size.
Start working the dough again, energetically, for another 15 min. Make a ball, cover it and let it rest for 6 hours. It should again double its volume and become elastic. It is now ready for baking, in any desired shape. (To obtain a darker color, there is an old fashioned custom of adding a teaspoon of sugar to the flour before mixing.)
There is also another, more elaborate method of preparing the dough. Dissolve the yeast in a cup of lukewarm water and work with a few teaspoons of flour until it forms a soft preliminary dough. Allow to rise in a warm place. When the dough has doubled in size, work in the rest of the flour with more lukewarm salted water, kneading continually until the dough has a smooth, even texture. Allow to rise until doubled in size once more, and work again, allowing it to rise a third, final time.
In the bakery, but also at home, when people used to make bread regularly, beer yeast was substituted with a special bread leavening agent consisting of a small piece of fermented dough watered down with lukewarm water to a fluid paste, which was then used to make the preliminary dough. This method takes much longer for the bread to rise, but the result is a particularly soft, fragrant and aromatic bread.