Buca, Inc. is an industry leader in terms of growth in the number of restaurants it oversees. The company owns and operates 51 full service, dinner-only restaurants under the name Buca di Beppo. Its restaurants are located in 18 states as well as the District of Columbia. Buca di Beppo (meaning 'Joe's basement') restaurants differentiate from other Italian restaurant chains by providing distinctive oversized Southern Italian family style portions in a casual, festive, humorous, socially interactive atmosphere. Appealing to nostalgic trends, the décor at each of Buca's restaurants irreverently exaggerates the clichés of traditional postwar neighborhood Italian/American restaurants. In terms of scale, Buca thinks big: large food portions, large tables, and large restaurant size with an average seating capacity of 300.

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Homemade Crusty Bread


Source: Into the Sauce, From Our Cucina to Your Kitchen

1 1/2 c. water, warmed to 100 degrees
1/4-oz. envelope dry instant yeast
1 1/2 tsps. salt
5 c. bread flour (plus extra for kneading and baking)
Olive oil, for oiling the bowl
Baking stone

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Place the warm water and yeast in the bowl of a large electric mixer. When the yeast is dissolved add the salt and half of the flour. Mix well on low speed to blend gradually. Add the rest of the flour, using the dough hook to mix, until the sides of mixing bowl are clean and the dough is smooth and elastic. Put dough in a large mixing bowl that has been brushed with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise until the dough doubles in volume, approximately 1 1/2 hours.

On a work surface sprinkled with flour, knead dough until firm. Form the dough into a ball shape and flatten. Place the dough on a sheet pan, sprinkle with flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Let the dough rise until it increases in volume by half, about 1 hour.

Place baking stone on the oven's bottom rack. (Baking stones mimic the dry heat of a brick oven, resulting in a rustic loaf.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the bread directly on the stone until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Place the bread on a cooling rack for about 2 hours.

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