Friday, February 26, 2010

Italian Bread

This is my go-to bread recipe whenever we have Italian night - spaghetti, lasagna, etc. I rarely, if ever, buy store bought Italian loaves anymore.

I split the dough and bake two loaves, freezing the extra one. When I want the frozen one, I thaw, wrap in foil, and warm in the oven - just like freshly baked. Mmmm!

(I forgot to take a picture of the beautifully browned baked loaf...!)


4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)

1 egg
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons cornmeal

Place flour, brown sugar, warm water, salt, olive oil and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form dough into two loaves. Place the loaves seam side down on a cutting board generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise, until doubled in volume about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl, beat together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the risen loaves with egg mixture. Make a single long, quick cut down the center of the loaves with a sharp knife. Gently shake the cutting board to make sure that the loaves are not sticking. If they stick, use a spatula or pastry knife to loosen. Slide the loaves onto a baking sheet with one quick but careful motion. (I shape my loaves and let them rise directly on my baking stone)

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Recommend: YES

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Melissa said...

Oh you don't know how many times I've made a meal and wanted crusty bread to go with it but didn't have time to stop or send someone to pick up a loaf. Def gonna try this!

Pamela Gold said...

That looks amazing. I'm drooling, and it's not even baked. I could make a meal of bread and butter. Real butter. Going to print this out now!! Thanks so much!

Rhiannon Bosse said...

That looks so very tasty! I wish I had the guts to try making bread myself. My nan passed away a few years ago and I've since taken over her beloved bread machine. Is it really as easy as it seems?? The recipe book has some great recipes in there!! Happy Weekend!

A Cooking Bookworm said...

It really is that easy! The bread machine does all the hard work! I hate kneading...and making sure the yeast is proofed correctly! I rarely bake the bread in the machine, though. I love shaping the dough into loaves or rolls myself - that way it SEEMS like I did all the work! ;-)

This is a nice simple one to start with: Allrecipes' Amish Bread (that I HAVE baked in the machine). I've also never actually bought bread flour and always use all-purpose with fine results. You should take the plunge and give it a try!

And, if your recipe book doesn't tell you, I was told to layer water/salt/fat/flour/sugar, then make a well in the top and add the yeast.

Nothing like the smell of bread rising and baking...and nothing like a warm slice dripping with butter! ;-)

Krista said...

This bread looks wonderful! Wishin' I had a bread machine now...

Enjoy your weekend!

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