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Italian Bread

by

Yield: Makes 2 loaves.

“We serve this bread warm with dinner. Wrapped in foil, it may be reheated at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. We also use the dough for our homemade pizza.” Sugar Hill Inn, Franconia, New Hampshire

Ingredients:

  • 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 packages (2 tablespoons) dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1-3/4 cups hot water
  • Cornmeal
  • Corn or other vegetable oil
  • 1 egg white lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water

Instructions:

Place 3 cups flour, the salt, sugar, yeast, and butter or margarine in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse the machine on and off rapidly two or three times or until the butter is thoroughly cut into the dry ingredients. Add half the water and pulse four times. Add 1-1/2 cups more flour and the remaining water and pulse four times. Let the processor run until a ball of dough forms on the blades. If the dough is too sticky, add some of the remaining flour, a few tablespoons at a time, then let the processor run 40 to 60 seconds to knead the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to form a smooth ball. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rest for 20 minutes. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a rectangle about 15 by 10 inches. Beginning on the long side, roll up the dough tightly. Pinch the seams to seal and taper the ends by rolling gently back and forth.
Place the dough on greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal, brush with oil, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator, uncover carefully, and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Make 3 or 4 cuts across the top of each loaf with a sharp knife.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with the egg white-water mixture.
Return to the oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
Updated Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
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