So after two years of trial and error, I did it! Homemade bread the way I used to eat it in Naples. There they call it "Pane Cafone" or "Pane Casareccio". This bread is more salty than the bread you are probably used to and has an olive oil base. It goes great with all Italian dishes and is especially good when dipped in sauce. Neapolitans have a tradition called the "scarpetta" (little shoe). When they are done eating the pasta, they dip bread in the left over sauce until the plate is clean.
*Please note that this recipe will result in bread looking and tasting very close to the original. The only way to make original pane casareccio is to have a starter yeast purchased directly from panificios in Italy. In most cases these starter yeasts are hundreds of years old and are considered trade secrets, so panificio owners don't let go of them easily. I found a website here in the U.S. that sells 2 kinds of original Italian starter yeast for about $20. I am not affiliated with the company so I will not post its information here, but if you are interested you can email me directly for the link.
For this recipe I used my beloved stand mixer and the dough hook attachment. You can make this recipe without the mixer by kneading by hand but it may require a little muscle work.
Ingredients for two small loaves:
3 Cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 cup warm water for yeast
2 packets instant or quick rise yeast
2 tsp salt
1 cup water for the mix
1 tsp sugar for proofing
Place yeast, sugar and 1 cup warm water in a cup. Wait ten minutes and if yeast had doubled, then it's active. The correct temperature for the water is between 105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, I like to use water that is warm enough to start to feel uncomfortable but not too hot to where it burns.
Place whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup white flour and salt in the stand mixer mixing bowl and mix at a low setting.
Add the yeast mixture, the olive oil and the rest of the water, mix on level 2 for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the white flour and mix until dough climbs on the hook and is elastic (usually about 2 to 3 minutes).
Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and place in a dark, warm place for 1 hour.
Remove dough from bowl, divide into to and roll out with a rolling pin. Roll both into loaves and place into two separate greased loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and return to a dark place for one hour.
Preheat oven to 400 F and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until bread a dark gold or brown. Remove loaves from pan and cool down on a cooling rack.
Olive Oil Dip
A good olive oil dip for Italian bread, such as the ones you find in Italian restaurants is this one.
1 Tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
2 TBSP Olive Oil