Italian Bread

Recipe by Dee514
READY IN: 1hr 15mins
YIELD: 2 Loaves




  • In large bowl thoroughly mix 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast.
  • Add butter.
  • Gradually add warm water to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes with mixer at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally.
  • Add 3/4 cup flour.
  • Beat at high speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  • Stir in enough additional flour to make a stiff dough.
  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes).
  • Cover dough with plastic wrap and then a towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • To make loaves: Divide dough in half.
  • Roll each half into a 15x10 inch rectangle.
  • Starting at wide side, roll up tightly; pinch seam to seal.
  • Taper ends by rolling gently back and forth.
  • To make rolls: Divide dough into 6 equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a rectangle 8x5 inches.
  • Starting with wide side, roll up tightly; pinch seam to seal.
  • Taper ends.
  • Place the shaped dough seam side down on greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.
  • Brush dough with oil.
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-24 hours.
  • When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator and uncover carefully.
  • Let dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  • Make 3 or 4 diagonal slits in dough with a sharp knife or razor blade.
  • Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes for rolls, 20 minutes for loaves.
  • Remove from oven and brush with egg white beaten with cold water.
  • Return to oven; bake 5-10 minutes longer, or until golden.
  • **Note: I sometimes add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (adjust amounts to your preferences) of dried oregano OR basil OR rosemary to the dry ingredients.
  • Sometimes I also add 1 bulb (head) of roasted garlic cloves to the dry ingredients.
  • To roast garlic: Peel as much of the outer skin away as possible, leaving the cloves unpeeled and the head intact (optional: trim the tips of the cloves off to expose the"meat" to the oil).
  • Place head (s) in covered casserole or on a piece of heavy aluminum foil.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, and bake covered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes (mine takes over an hour in a terra-cotta garlic baker), or until cloves are soft and can be squeezed easily out of their skins.
  • Let roasted garlic cool before adding to the flour for the bread.