If you were to ask, what type of cook I am, I would say I am a baker, more than a cook. I love baking bread. It is probably the most satisfying food for me to make. I used to make it by hand, which in itself was a work out but now that I have a stand mixer, I have been able to make a variety of breads easily. Today, I am sharing with you a recipe for Italian Bread. Before I left for Florida, I was preparing a number of dishes, for my house/cat sitter. I made a large tray of lasagna and what better to serve with a pasta dish, than Italian bread. So, armed with my stand mixer, I made a beautiful loaf of Italian bread. This one was probably the largest I have made so far. I usually half many of my recipes because I am only cooking for two. I was very satisfied with this recipe and I wish I would have been able to have more than one slice. Oh well, it just means I have another opportunity to make this again!
1 cup of warm water
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of sugar
3/4 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 egg white, slightly beaten with a bit of water (for brushing)
- Combine all dry ingredients and olive oil.
- Add enough water until a ball of dough is formed (should be about 1 cup of water)
- Knead until dough is soft and elastic
- Place dough in a greased bowl and cover. Allow dough to rest for 1 hour
- Punch dough down and roll it out into a rectangle.
- Form a roll (using the long sides of the rectangle) and then tuck ends at the seam
- Place loaf on a parchment paper, seam side down and let dough rest for 1 hour
- Place two racks in oven, one in the center of the oven and the second underneath the first
- Place a pan on the lower rack.
- Set a pot of water to boil
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Brush loaf with egg white and cut decorative slashes on the top of the loaf
- When water is boiling, pour into pan on lower rack and place loaf of bread on the first rack
- Keep oven closed and bake for 25 minutes
Serve when loaf has cooled.
(It is always easier to cut bread after it has cooled down)