Friday, November 30, 2012

Italian Bread

There is nothing quite like freshly baked bread.  Hot from the oven, buttered or dipped in some olive oil, Italian bread that you baked yourself from this recipe will be sure to please.

It has been a long time Italian secret:   If you want to sell your house, bake bread.  The smell of the Italian bread baking, with its amazing aroma permeating your house.  It can attract home buyers, by creating an warm and cozy atmosphere.  It will make your house more attractive, by appealing to your buyer's powerful sense of smell.  You can sell your house in record time, thanks to the gift if Italian Bread!!!!!

The thing to remember when baking breads, is that bread takes time.   You can't rush the process and get exceptional results.   So, plan in that it will take a few hours.   Don't rush it.   In fact, the longer  it takes, the better your Italian bread will come out.    Get your children involved making it with you.   Enjoy the quality time and conversations you will have with them, making  bread together.  The memories you will create will be well worth it.

Homemade Italian Bread is very delicious.
Homemade Italian Bread

Italian Bread

·         1 pkg active dry yeast
·         1 1/2 cup warm water
·         ½  tablespoon salt
·         4 cups all−purpose flour
·         yellow cornmeal
·         1 slightly−beaten egg white
·         Olive Oil


I make this using either a Kitchen Aid mixer OR a Bread Machine ran on a dough cycle.   You can, if you desire, choose to hand knead.

·         Dissolve the active dry yeast in warm water.
·         Stir in 1 C. of the flour, beat well.   Let this sit for about 15 minutes.
·         Add remaining flour and salt
·         Either:
1.   Start your bread machine on its dough cycle
2.   Run in Kitchen Aid with dough hook for about 20 minutes to ½ hour.
3.   Knead by hand for about a half hour

Dough in a Kitchen Aid Mixer with a Dough Hook
Dough in a Kitchen Aid Mixer with a Dough Hook

·         Coat the dough ball with Olive Oil and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a wet towel and let rise in warm place until it doubles (about 1 1/2 hours) in size.
·         Punch down the dough ball and let rise again until double (about 1 hour).
·         When you are ready to make the loaves, do so on lightly floured surface.   Place the dough ball on the floured surface and cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.
·         Sprinkle a baking sheet with some corn meal.
·         Shape the loaf of bread and place on baking sheets on top of the corn meal.   *See section on how to form a loaf of Italian Bread at bottom of page.
·         Cover with damp cloth, but don't let it touch the dough.  You can make a tent using a few tall glasses.
·         Add 1 T. water to egg white and gently brush over top and sides of loaves.
·         Slice the top of the dough  diagonally with a sharp serrated knife, about 2 ½ inches apart.
·         Optionally, you can sprinkle the loaf with toasted sesame seeds, or seeds of your liking.
·         Let rise in warm place until double (1 to 1 1/2 hours).
·         Position your oven racks so that you have two racks in the lower part of your oven.   You will bake the loaf of bread on the top one, but place a pan of water on the lower one.   The steam from the bottom pan of water will help create a crisp crust.
·         Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
·         Place your pan of water on the lower oven rack.
·         Bake for about 40 minutes or until browned and done.
·         Cool.

How to form a loaf of Italian Bread

·         For a large loaf of Italian Bread, roll dough in 12 x 16 inch rectangle, about ¼ inch thick.
·         Beginning at long side, roll the dough up tightly, like a Jelly Roll, sealing well as you roll.  Pinch and taper the ends.   Place each loaf of Italian bread seam side down on cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet. With sharp knife, make diagonal cuts 2 ½ inches apart, about ¼ inch deep.

You can also make smaller rolls for subs!

I sure hope you have enjoyed this excellent Italian recipe.  Once you get the hang of making this Italian bread, you can expand on it.   Come back to this site for more bread recipes.   In the near future, I plan on posting some variations, like Italian Sausage bread.  Yum!


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