Italian Bread


Italian Bread
Ingredients

1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
2 to 3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

How to Make It
Step 1
Mix sugar, yeast, and 1 glass of warm water into a heavy electric bowl mixer bowl; leave for 5 minutes. Add salt, 2 cups flour, and oil to a bowl, then shake at low speed, using a dough hook, about 1 minute. Gradually add additional flour until the mixture starts leaving the sides of the bowl and then pull it together. (Note: The dough will take on a "shaggy" appearance as the flour is being added. After the flour is added, the mixture will look soft and smooth, not wet and sticky or too dry.

Step 2
Increase speed to medium, and beat 5 minutes. Cover bowl of dough with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down, and let stand 10 minutes.

Step 3
Turn the dough into a mild flour surface; form the dough into 12-inch bread, and place it on a baking sheet that has been smeared Cut 3 (1/4-inch deep) slits across top of dough with a sharp paring knife. (The gap releases inner vapor and prevents the bread from slipping off on the side.)

Step 4
Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Step 5
Herbed Focaccia : Continue as directed, forming the dough into a ball, not bread. Roll the dough into a rectangle of 11 x 14 inches on a baking sheet that is lightly smeared. Press the handle of the wooden spoon into the dough to make a hollow at 1 inch intervals. Drizzle dough evenly with 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning. Bake at 475 ° for about 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Step 6
Pizza Crust: Continue with the recipe as directed, forming the dough into a ball, not bread. Roll the dough into a rectangle of 11 x 14 inches on a baking sheet that is lightly smeared. Spray with olive oil, or spread with pesto or pizza sauce, then sprinkle with desired toppings. Bake at 475° for 20 to 25 minutes.


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