Homemade Italian Bread

Recipe by Mysterygirl
READY IN: 2hrs 50mins
YIELD: 2 loaves
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • 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.
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