Cookbook:Italian Bread

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Italian Bread
CategoryBread recipes
Yield2 loaves
Time3–3½ hours

Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Equipment | Techniques | Cookbook Disambiguation Pages | Recipes | Italian cuisine | Vegetarian cuisine | Bread


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Ingredient Count Volume Weight Baker's %
Active dry yeast 1 package 7 g 1.4%
Warm water (110°F) cups 375 g 75%
Vegetable oil 1 tablespoon 14 g 2.8%
Salt 1 teaspoon 6 g 1.2%
White granulated sugar 1 tablespoon 14 g g 2.8%
Flour 3½–4 cups 500 g g 100%
Wheat germ (optional) ½ cup 70 g 14%
Cornstarch 1 teaspoon n/a
Cool water ½ cup 118 g n/a


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  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in oil, salt, and sugar.
  3. Add 2½ cups flour and mix to blend.
  4. Using a spoon or heavy duty mixer, beat until elastic (about 5 minutes).
  5. Stir in (you may want to use dough hooks) another cup of flour and the wheat germ to make a stiff dough.
  6. Knead on a board or pastry cloth, floured with some of the last ½ cup flour, until dough is springy and smooth and develops small bubbles just under the surface (about 20–25 minutes—you may want to do this with the dough hooks).
  7. Put in greased bowl, turning to grease top, then cover with a cloth.
  8. Rise until doubled, about an hour, depending on temperature.
  9. Punch down dough, turn out, and divide in half.
  10. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  11. Shape each half of dough into a slender oval loaf about 15 inches long.
  12. Place on greased baking sheet, cover lightly and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30–40 minutes.
  13. Combine cornstarch and cool water. Bring cornstarch mixture to a boil and stir until thick and clear. Brush loaves with mixture.
  14. Slash loaf tops ½ inch with floured sharp knife or razor blade.
  15. Bake until loaves browned and sound hollow when tapped, 25 to 30 minutes.
  16. Cool on wire racks.

Notes, tips, and variations

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  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour may be substituted for 1 cup of plain flour.
  • To get a rapid initial rise, use water about 130–135°F, and pour into bowl with yeast mixed with initial flour and salt and sugar and start mixing.
  • All rising should be in a warm place, like near the refrigerator.
  • A baking stone, ceramic brick, or even an iron skillet or griddle preheated in the oven (to place the baking sheet on) will give a good "spring" or quick rise when the loaves are first placed in the oven.
  • Great with cheese and cold meats on a picnic.