Italian Herb Bread

by Nicki on June 23, 2009

in Frugal Food

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

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
  • cornmeal

Directions:

  1. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes until it appears slightly foamy and creates small bubbles (this is proofing).
  2. Stir in 4 cups of flour and beat it until it’s smooth. Then let it rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Beat in the salt and herbs. Add remaining flour, one cup at a time, until it forms a firm dough.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Options:

  • 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?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelli M June 23, 2009 at 9:01 am

I’ve recently begun to make all of our bread as well. Can’t wait to try this recipe!!! Store-bought cardboard, I mean bread, can’t compete with the taste of a homemade load fresh from the bread maker!!!
.-= Kelli M´s last blog ..Echlin Wedding, Part One =-.

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2 Britt June 23, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Bread maker here too! I love making pizza dough though…and yeasty rolls are my favorite!!! Mmmm…with a pad of melted butter….

Ok…I’m hungry now :P
.-= Britt´s last blog ..Bath Time Color Soap =-.

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3 Nicki June 23, 2009 at 9:07 pm

@Kelli M & Britt – Bread makers unite!! j/k :)

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4 Andrea June 23, 2009 at 8:47 pm

I have to admit that I have still never tried your granola wheat bread. I really need to… this bread sounds wonderful too! I think I’ll need to try it.

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5 Nicki June 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm

@Andrea – *gasp!* :) Both recipes are tasty but the Italian is more fool-proof, if that helps.

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6 Maria June 23, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Pretty nice post. I just found your site and wanted to say
that I have really liked browsing your blog posts. Anyway
I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

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7 Andrea June 30, 2009 at 8:59 pm

I made it! It is very good. Very soft, sort of like a sandwich bread but delicious! Without the herbs it would make great french toast I’m thinking…
.-= Andrea´s last blog ..good, nearly =-.

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8 Nicki July 1, 2009 at 5:33 am

@Andrea – YEAH!!! :)

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9 Melissa Terebessy March 11, 2010 at 9:37 am

YOU HAVE THE BEST BREAD RECIPES!! I make everyone you post and they all become favorites. I’m smelling this one rise right now and can’t wait to eat it! You rock!
.-= Melissa Terebessy´s last blog ..Tips and Hints Tuesday – Stay warmer in the winter =-.

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10 Stacey September 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Hi there,
I was just wondering, do your bread recipes work in a bread machine as well? I have had a hard time finding a good sandwich bread recipe for the bread maker. I usually like to use whole wheat, but the breads I have made in there seem too dense for sandwiches…
Thanks!
Stacey

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11 Nicki September 29, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Stacey-
I’ve never made any of my recipes with a bread machine before but I’m sure many of them can be adapted. I bet this Italian bread would work if you cut the recipe in half. I’ve cut it in half before to make one large loaf. I don’t recommend it for a sandwich bread though – more of a dinner bread. Try my recipe for Soft White Bread or Honey Oatmeal Wheat bread for a sandwich bread. Hope that helps!

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12 Melissa Terebessy October 2, 2010 at 10:54 am

I commented before on this bread…IT’s the best! You have THE BEST bread recipes. I hope it’s okay I posted it on my blog – linked yours – and credited you!! It’s just too great not to share!

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13 Nicki October 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Of course it’s ok! I’m so happy you like it! :)

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14 Joy March 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Making this recipe as we speak. In the last rise as of now! It looks wonderful! Cant wait to eat it with my home made lasagna tonight!

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15 Brooke July 28, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I just tried the bread recipe with the herbs and all. I think something went wrong. It is heavy and doesn’t sound hollow… more like a door… a SOLID door. :-P I used my kitchen aid mixer to assist of course. What went wrong? Did I mix it too much and if so, which part do you think (first mix before herbs or the kneading)? It was still very sticky after I kneaded it. So sticky I had to flour my hands to get it out of the mixer bowl and into my greased one. Thanks for your help!

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16 Nicki July 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Hmm, sounds to me like it didn’t rise properly. You could have had “old” yeast. It should get creamy-looking and start to bubble when you dissolve it in water after 10 minutes or so. Another factor could be the amount of flour you used. It really varies for me. If it’s super sticky then it probably needs a little more. It’s tough to over-knead bread dough. Most people don’t knead long enough. I don’t feel like I’m being much help. :-/

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