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Homemade Italian Bread

Published: January 1, 2014 12:00 AM
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Ingredients:

*4 ½ to 5 ½ cup flour

*2 Tbsp. Sugar

*1 Tbsp. Salt

*2 pkg. Dry yeast

*1 Tbsp. Margarine, softened

*1 ¾ cup warm water (120°- 130°)

*Corn meal

*Vegetable oil

*1 egg white

*1 Tbsp. Cold water

Directions:

1. In a large mixer bowl, combine 1 ½ cup flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast. At medium speed, mix in margarine and warm water; beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl. Add ¾ cup more flour and beat on high speed for 2 minutes, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl. Remove bowl from mixer and, by hand, stir in additional flour, making a stiff dough. On a well-floured board, knead until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed, about 10 -12 minutes. Cover dough with plastic wrap and a towel; let rest 20 minutes.

2. Divide the dough into two parts and roll each into a 10" x 15" rectangle. Starting at the long side, roll up dough tightly; seal the bottom seam and ends by pinching dough. Place both loaves on a greased baking sheet that has been lightly sprinkled with corn meal. Brush loaves with oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but not more than 24.

3. Remove from refrigerator and carefully remove the plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. With a very sharp knife, make several diagonal slits on the top of each loaf (be careful to just barely slit the dough, or it may fall). Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Take from the oven, brush with a mixture of the egg white and cold water, return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a golden brown.

*This recipe lets you get the mess out of the way before dinner and still have freshly baked Italian bread for your and your guests!


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