If you’ve read my blog for very long, then you know that I make all of our bread. I wrote a post to convince you to try it and another one that shows you how to do it. If you’re unsure about baking bread, go check them out
Today I want to share another one of my tried and true recipes with you. It’s a favorite in our house and a must-have for any Italian meal. This one isn’t difficult, uses basic ingredients and is very versitile depending on your preferences. It yields 3 loaves of bread. I usually freeze the two extra loaves. The day I want to use one I pull it out of the freezer in the morning. By supper time it’s all thawed and I toss it in the oven for 5 mintues or so to re-heat and re-crisp it. Perfect.
Italian Herb Bread
(adapted from allrecipes)
- 3 cups warm water
- 1 tsp. white sugar
- 2 tbsp. (or 2 packets) active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 7 cups all-purpose flour
- Dissolve the sugar and yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes until it appears slightly foamy and creates small bubbles (this is proofing).
- Stir in 4 cups of flour and beat it until it’s smooth. Then let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Beat in the salt and herbs. Add remaining flour, one cup at a time, until it forms a firm dough.
- Knead until it is smooth and springy. This is going to take about 8 minutes or so if you knead it by hand. It needs to be very smooth in order to have a fantastic consistency.
- Place it in a greased bowl and turn it over so that the dough is greased all over (you don’t want it sticking to the bowl). Cover dough with a cloth or plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for one hour.
- Punch it down gently and divide into 3 balls. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets (be sure you pick two that will fit in your oven at the same time) then sprinkle lightly with cornmeal (cornmeal is optional, but I like it). Form dough into either long or round loaves on the cookie sheets. Use a very sharp knife a cut a few slits in the top of the loaves. Cover and let rise about 30 more minutes.
- Bake in a 450F degree oven for about 20 minutes. The top should be golden brown and the bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
- Mist dough with water twice while it is cooking. This will create a delicate, crisp crust.
- Brush top of loaves with butter right after they come out of the oven. This gives a very soft, buttery crust.
- Form dough into breadsticks (be careful, it makes a lot!)
- Omit herbs (but not the salt) for a plain Italian bread.
Why I do what I do ~ I was in the grocery store tonight with Chloe (I know … I usually go alone). She was sitting in the seat with a canteloupe in her lap and two pens, pretending to play a drum. I was tempted to put the canteloupe back and get another one … Have you liked Domestic Cents on Facebook yet?