103. The smell of baking bread...*smile*...it makes your senses come alive! Have you ever driven by a bakery in the early morning, when they are baking bread? It smells sooo goood!
I have a wonderful recipe for Italian Bread which I've used for many years. It is from an old Fleischmanns Yeast recipe booklet. I have made loaves and rolls and the recipe adapts very well. I was so in the mood for it today so I pulled out my bread machine to mix up the dough but I added dry Italian seasoning, about 2 teaspoons, to flavor the bread and it was wonderful!
My stone bar Pampered Chef baking pan is excellent for baking bread.
4½ - 5½ cups unsifted flour (depending on the consistency of the dough)
1 T Sugar
1 T salt
2 packages Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast or 2 tsp yeast
1 T butter
1 ¾ cups very warm water (120ºF.-130ºF.)
1 egg white
1 T cold water
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix 1 ½ cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add butter.
Gradually add warm water to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add ¾ cup flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough additional flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, then a towel. Let rest 20 minutes.
If you are making dough in a bread machine, place the warm water in first, then butter, salt. Next, the flour, sugar and last, the yeast. Turn machine on and select the "dough" setting.
When dough is ready, sprinkle corn meal over the bottom of a heavy baking sheet. Shape dough into two loaves 15 x 10 inches long or round, 6 rolls or one large loaf. Make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts on top of each with razor blade or sharp knife. Brush the dough with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
Bake in 425º oven for 15 minutes for rolls, 20 minutes for loaves or 30-35 minutes for one loaf. Remove from oven and brush with egg white mixed with cold water. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes longer until golden brown.
I added the dry Italian Seasoning at the point of the flour.
Then I sprinkled coarse salt
on top after I brushed the loaf with oil.
The bread was crusty, and soft inside...and the flavor was exceptional.
There was no need for butter, the flavor of the bread could stand on it's own.
But, of course, butter always makes it taste divine!
This week, I think we'll try this recipe again, but this time add parmesan cheese.
"A wise and frugal government,
which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement,
and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government."
~ Thomas Jefferson