Recipe by Mysterygirl
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.
Top Review by Chef MrsPi
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)
- 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
Directions See How It's Made
- 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.