I'm making my first Italian loaf .. and its for my future in-laws - help!
So I am no baking novice, but when it comes to baking bread I am not nearly as experienced as I am when it comes to cookies!
I have previously made successful white bread (with some help from everyone here in the past) and was hoping that I could get a few pointers before taking on my first Italian loaf, especially since I am making it for my future in-laws this weekend!
I am going to be using the Italian Bread recipe on this site (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/italianbread) , but need to make a few modifications because of time and travel restraints. We will be driving approximately 2 hours upstate, and I plan on bringing my dough with me and baking the bread fresh for dinner upstate.
Because of this travelling and timing issue I was planning on making the dough and allow it to have its first rise and then putting it the fridge (and then refrigerated travel case) and letting it slow rise until we get up to the country. When we get to our final destination I was going to let it get back to room temperature and rise again before baking.
I have done this in the past with white breads before, but wasn't sure if with the Italian bread I was asking for disaster, does anyone have any insight?
I know the letting it slowly rise in the fridge allows the gluten to develop and can solve any under kneading problems, so I figured I would be in the clear if I did it for these loaves. Due to time restraints I will need to make the dough a day before baking it, so I thought this may be a good solution, but am unsure and appreciate any insight you have to offer :)
I also have 3 questions about the recipe if any one can help:
1) It calls for instant yeast - can I use the active dry yeast packets for this and just measure the correct amounts? Or do I need to get the blocks of yeast? Or the bottles of Bread Machine Yeast (which I believe is still active dry yeast but am still unsure)?
2) The recipe calls for nonfat dry milk, can I use regular liquid nonfat milk? If so how to I adjust for it? Is there a particular reason dry milk is used?
3) Different sugar options are given, which one is the best for amazing Italian bread?
I'd appreciate any insight anyone can offer! I know its a lot of questions but I'd be willing to trade my award winning melt in your mouth pumpkin cookies recipe for some great pointers (I'd be happy to give it to you even if you don't have any!)