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Leah’s Easy Italian Bread Recipe

June 2, 2008


I made this over the weekend with the ‘rapid-rise’ active dry yeast with super excellent results, I can’t keep my paws off the loaf. The olive oil and honey made this bread slightly sweet, yet light and airy. Not dense at all.

A great easy recipe to make allowing the bread machine to do all the hard work in making the dough while you go about your chores, you let it rise only once after you shape it, and yet you get the homemade taste we all seek and crave.

An amazing smell will assault your kitchen, a warning to the wise.

Ingredients:

  • Cooking time does not include the time it takes your bread machine to run through its dough cycle, mine takes an hour and half.
  • I let my dough rise once shaped into a baguette shape, maybe 30 minutes, until it doubled – though it was a nice warm day today in the kitchen.
  • While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. – You will be baking your bread for 25-30 minutes.
  • 3-1/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons Rapid-Rise Yeast – its a super active dry yeast (its packaging is bright yellow and pink)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg – for an egg wash right before you bake your bread, it leaves a beautiful shine to your bread and helps to allow the sesame seeds to stick.
  • lots of sesame seeds (optional but oh so good)
  • 1-1/3 cup warm water (120 degrees)
  • Cookie sheet and parchment paper
  • Clean dish towel
  • If you have a gas oven (ONLY) use of one or two ice cubes. Do not add ice cubes to the floor of your electric oven, you could actually ruin your oven.


Directions:

  1. My bread machine requires the yeast to be added last, if your requires the yeast to added first, then do it in that order then add the flour and lastly the ‘wet’ ingredients.
  2. Select the dough cycle on your bread machine.
  3. Add warm water, then add honey, olive oil, salt.
  4. Add flour, then make small well, and add yeast.
  5. Turn on bread machine.
  6. Be ready once bread machine has finished its dough cycle, turn out dough onto floured surface.
  7. Turn on oven to 375 degrees.
  8. Let rest five minutes.
  9. Put parchment paper on cookie sheet.
  10. Then grab dough and knead for five minutes, then throw between hands as you see the pizza makers do, to soften the gluten in the dough.
  11. You can either roll (or do what I did) stretch out into rectangular shape with your hands, then roll up, into baguette shape.
  12. Place rolled dough with ends under and seal down onto the parchment paper on the cookie sheet.
  13. With knife, make diagonal slices onto top of bread.
  14. Cover with clean dish towel and let double in size – this can take anywhere from 30-100 minutes depending upon warmth in your kitchen.
  15. Break egg in bowl, and whisk.
  16. Uncover doubled bread dough, and using beaten egg, wash bread dough with egg wash all over, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. The more sesame seeds the merrier I feel.
  17. Place into your preheated oven and let bake for 25-30 minutes.
  18. If you have a gas oven, add 1 or 2 ice cubes to bottom of oven to help create steam in your oven during the first 10 minutes of cooking – helps create a super tender loaf of bread.
  19. Photo is of actual load I baked, roughly 4-5 inches tall and at least 14 inches long before I started eating it…lol.

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