The secret to a crispy crust is to spritz the bread with water a couple of times while it is cooking. I've found the easiest way to do this is to use a small spray bottle. Admittedly, the cat looks very nervous every time I take her water spritzer out of the cupboard - she's not convinced that I'm just going to spray the bread as it cooks and not her!
The recipe makes two decent sized loaves.
- 3 teaspoons Surebake yeast
- 450 grams high-grade flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 375 ml water
- Place ingredients in the pan of the breadmaker in the above order. Select the pizza cycle (for Panasonic machines) and start. This is a 45 minute cycle.
- The dough will be quite sticky and wet once the cycle is completed - resist the temptation to add more flour. Place dough on a lightly floured board or bench. Cover with a large bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Lightly flour or use a baking paper lined oven tray. Divide into two pieces and form each into a 10 x 35 cm oval. Place loaves on prepared trays, dimple the surface and lightly flour. Cover with a paper towel or plastic bag and let rise in a draft-free place for 45-60 minutes or until the loaves have doubled in size. (I use the proof dough setting on my oven, which keeps the temperature at a consistent 30°C.)
- Preheat oven to 220°C.
- Dimple dough for a second time and then place loaves in the oven, positioned on the middle shelf. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Spritz loaves with water every 5-10 minutes while baking for a crispier crust.