Recipe for Prosforo (Church Bread)20 March 2017
5 cups of strong (bread) flour
3 cups (roughly) of warm water
1 teaspoon of salt
Fresh brewer’s yeast, about the size of an almond (or a packet of quick yeast)
A little sugar to get the yeast started.
Dissolve the yeast in a half a cup of warm water. In a bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar. Make a well in the flour and add the water and yeast. Mix and gradually and add the rest of the flour until you have a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead well. If you require more water, simply moisten your fists and continue to knead until the extra moisture has been absorbed and the dough is the right texture.
Shape the dough into a round and place it in a baking tray, preferably a round one with a little room to let it expand. If you haven’t got one, just form it by hand. The shape’s not really that important. Dust it well with flour, dust the special wooden seal with flour and then press the seal really well onto the surface of the dough, so that it’ll still be visible even after the dough’s risen. To free the seal without spoiling the effect, raise it gently on one side to allow air in and it should come away cleanly.
Cover and set to rise in a warm place. The old way of testing when it was ready was to poke it with a finger. If the dough rose again, it was ready.
Before baking, dust off the excess flour with a little brush. Place in a pre-heated, medium oven (180 degrees C/ 350 F) for 45 mins. to an hour, depending on your oven. When it’s done, it’ll sound hollow when tapped. Although it’s hard to get wrong, since it’s very basic baking, you should bear in mind that if it’s burnt it can’t be used.