The closest that I have ever been to making bread in the past is by using a bread machine. I didn’t really like the consistency of the bread that it made, so I stopped using it. Why should I make inferior bread when we are so lucky here in St. Louis to have so many great Italian bakeries. I certainly didn’t want to waste my time trying to make bread that would be surpassed by the bread that they make. Well, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. This recipe makes the most delicious dense, crusty bread that is on a par with our bakeries.
Actually, Marconi Bakery, makes a very similar bread to this, and I know it well, since my husband makes a special trip down to pick up bread from them every Saturday to sell in our store. When he unloads his van, the bread is still warm, and it is a treat to smell the aroma wafting up from the warm loaves. Michael has admitted that the smell is so enticing that many Saturdays he doesn’t make it back to the store without cracking open a loaf and eating some on the way back. When my son was younger, he would have friends stay over on Saturday nights for sleepovers. There were many Sunday mornings that we would come downstairs and find two loaves of bread decimated by the boys late night cravings. You know it has to be good for adolescent boys to prefer bread and butter over chips or popcorn.
When I started this bread my fear was that I would mess up the recipe and I certainly didn’t have time for it not to work. I shouldn’t have feared because Marcella has made the process so easy, that if you just follow her direction closely, the bread will come out nicely. I really enjoyed the process although I have to admit, I almost beaned my son with the dough as I was picking it up by the end and forcefully banging it on the counter. Apparently I was a little aggressive and he almost got caught in my backswing! Not to worry though, we made it through injury free. When the bread came out of the oven, the first thing that I said was “I have made Marconi bread”. I was so happy. Finally a bread recipe that I know will be worth the time to make and my family will love. Actually, Michael said that this was better than Marconi bread. Now, in this family praise doesn’t come much higher than that.