Italian Bread

 

One summer I made this recipe almost every day and got very good at making it.  It is a simple recipe and doesn’t take very much work to put together with a good stand mixer.  I have used the baguette baking pans for this recipe with good results.

 

 

1 3/4
cups warm water
2
teaspoons salt
1
tablespoon active dry yeast
4
cups unbleached flour

 

 

Pour water, salt and yeast into a mixing bowl.  Mix in flour and work it until the dough becomes elastic and does not stick to your touch.  Remove the dough from the bowl.

Clean the bowl and grease it with olive oil.  Return the dough to the bowl to raise.  Cover and let it double in size, about 1 hour.

 

Punch it down.  Lightly flour wooden board.  Roll the dough into desired shapes, 2 15-inch loaves.  Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Place the bread on an oiled cookie sheet (use olive oil).  Allow it to double in size.

 

Use a sharp knife to gently cut 1/4-inch deep, angular markings in the top of each loaf.  Bake the loaves for about 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

 

For extra crunchy crust, bake bread 10 minutes, then slide it directly onto the middle rack and finish baking it for 6 more minutes.  Spray the bread with water 5 minutes before it is done to give the crush a glossy sheen.

 

 

 

Italian Garlic Bread Sticks

 

These bread sticks are tasty, but the shaping can take a few minutes.

 

 

Italian Bread dough (recipe above)
3
tablespoons butter, softened
1
clove garlic, minced
2
tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1

tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

 

 

Follow directions for making bread dough until you are ready to shape it.  Shape the dough into 12 16-inch or 24 8-inch sticks.  Place then on an oiled cookie sheet with 1-inch separations between them.  Let the bread sticks double in size. 

 

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Gently cut angular marks in the bread sticks with a sharp knife.  Mix butter, garlic, cheese and parsley together.  Gently brush the top of each bread stick with the spread.  Do not press the dough down.  Bake 7 to 8 minutes, until cheese becomes light brown.