Prep 2 hrs 10 mins
Cook 40 mins
This is my favorite Italian bread recipe. It tastes so good and smells wonderful. **NOTE Prep time has been recalculated due to the first two reviews.
- 7 1⁄4-7 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 packages fast-rising active dry yeast
- 2 1⁄2 cups water (110 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- yellow cornmeal
- 1 slightly beaten egg white
- In large mixer bowl, combine 3 c of flour and the yeast.
- Combine the water and salt.
- Add to the dry mixture.
- Beat at low speed for 30 seconds, scrapping the sides constantly.
- Beat at high for 3 minutes.
- By hand, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a very stiff dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and very elastic (15-25 minutes).
- Shape into a ball.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (about 1 hour).
- Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Divide the dough in half.
- Cover with the bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Roll each half into a 15x12 inch rectangle.
- Beginning at the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough up tightly, sealing as you roll.
- Taper the ends of the loaf.
- Grease 2 baking sheets and sprinkle them each with cornmeal.
- Place each loaf diagonally seam side down, on baking sheets.
- Make diagonal cuts 2 ½ inches apart (1/8 to ¼ inch deep) on the tops of the loaves.
- Add tablespoon of water to the beaten egg white and brush over the top and sides of the loaves.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (about 20-45 minutes).
- When ready to bake, place a large shallow pan on the lower rack of the oven and fill with boiling water.
- Bake at 375° for 20 minutes, brush with the egg white mixture.
- Bake 20 minutes longer.
- Cool on a rack.
- Tips: Raising tip: In a cold oven, place the dough on the top rack.
- On the rack beneath, place a pan filled with very hot water then close the door.
- This will create a warm, draftless environment for raising your dough.
- Temp: be sure to use a thermometer to test the temp of the liquids before adding to the yeast.
- Temperature is very critical– too cold and the yeast won’t activate, too hot and they die– either way the bread will not raise.
I took a chance on this recipe, using it to make 4 loaves of bread for an Italian-themed dinner the other night for a visiting university choir. The music director is himself Italian so I felt "on trial." I've got to say the loaves turned out beautifully! And the taste was superb. The music director praised the bread. I had to work hard to sneak a half-loaf home to my husband. This recipe goes into my winner file. :o)
Fantastic! I just ditched my previous favorite Italian loaf recipe for this one. For a little extra flavor, after brushing on the egg white, sprinkle some kosher salt over the top of the loaf.
ahhhh! there is nothing like homemade bread, and this was exceptional! Baking in general is a challenge for me, but this was wonderfully straight forward. Mine did not look like ~Nimz~' s beautiful loaf (I just tell people my loaves are rustic!), but the taste more than made up for my poor presentation! Thank You!