This is a versatile recipe that makes a lovely loaf of bread. It can also be made into rolls instead of loaves, and the addition of roasted garlic or spices makes it a wonderful taste treat. Makes 2 loaves or 6 rolls
In large bowl thoroughly mix 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast.
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.
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.