Italian bread is the greatest, all-versatile bread you can make. It can be served at lunch or dinner. You can make delicious hoagies with it or turn it into pizza bread. At breakfast, Italian bread is perfect for scooping up the egg yellow on your plate and, when sliced thin, it can be used to make delicious little French toasts.
Yield: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp or 2 pkg. (1/2 oz.) active dry yeast
- 1-3/4 cups warm water, 95 to 110 degrees F
- 1 Tbsp soft butter or margarine
- 5 cups bread or high gluten flour, about
- 1 egg white
- 1 Tbsp cold water
- In large bowl, stir together sugar, salt, yeast, and water. Stir in soft butter. Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough that can be kneaded by hand. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, adding more flour if necessary, until the dough is soft and not sticky. Place dough in greased medium bowl and flip dough over so that the top is also lightly greased. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let set for 30 minutes in a warm, draft-free place.
- Grease large baking sheet. Sprinkle baking sheet with coarse cornmeal, if desired. Remove dough from bowl onto lightly floured table and divide into 2 equal parts. Roll each dough half into a 15 X 9-inch rectangle. Tightly roll dough along the 15-inch side. Pinch seams and taper the ends of each loaf. Place loaves on baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for only 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven 425 degrees F. Make 3 deep diagonal slashes on each loaf. Bake bread for 20 minutes. Lightly beat egg white and cold water in small bowl. Remove loaves from oven, brush with watered egg, and return to oven for another 5 minutes. Serve bread warm or cold.