Rainbow Colored Italian Bread
FRESH ITALIAN BREAD IN JUST ABOUT TWO HOURS!
• 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
• 1 cup warm water (I just allowed my tap water to get as hot as it would)
• 2½ cups bread or all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon salt
1. Add yeast, sugar, and warm water to a large bowl or a stand mixer. Let it stand for 5 minutes – the mixture should get nice and foamy.
2. Add all-purpose flour, olive oil, and salt to the mixture and mix on low using a dough hook for about a minute or so. The mixture will not look smooth at this point. Increase the speed to medium and knead dough for five minutes. You should end up with a smooth and elastic dough.
Alright so here is where I am going to do something different, but before I do let me run through the rest of the recipe for those that just want a normal Italian Bread recipe.
3. Shape the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it sit for 1 hour. It should double in size.
Since I am not one to do things the normal way I decided to make this Italian Bread a Rainbow. I do it for the kids…and myself.
4. Separate the dough into four sections and place them in their own bowls. Take the first dough section and place it back in the mixer. Add in the color of your choice and mix well. I like to use Wilton Gel Food Colors. When the section is well mixed remove it from the bowl and add it to an oiled bowl, turn to coat, and then over with plastic and let it sit. Follow these directions for the rest of your sections. I made four different colors and that seemed to be an ideal number.
5. Let the sections sit covered for 1 hour, until doubled.
6. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease the baking sheet with cooking spray.
7. Remove the colored sections from their bowls and transfer them to a lightly floured surface. I made two smaller loaves so I cut each section of dough into half.
8. Take half of each section of colored dough and punch down the dough. After that I shaped each into long wide strips and layered them one on top of the other. Once they were layered I rolled the dough from one side to the other hoping I’d get a nice design when the bread was cooked. I followed the same instructions to create the second baguette.
9. Leave the loaves on the floured surface, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for another 20 minutes.
10. Transfer the loaves to the greased baking sheet and use a serrated knife to make a few ¼-inch deep slits in the surface of the loaves.
11. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
12. Let the loaves cool completely before slicing.