Homemade Italian Bread

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Do you love the smell of warm, crusty bread when you walk into a bakery?

You can have your own fresh bread every day in the comfort of your own home by following this easy recipe!

Imagine serving glorious, golden bread at Christmas time to your out-of-town relatives, that is so delicious they’ll be begging you to go back to the bakery!

Homemade Italian Bread
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 5 ½ cups of Unbleached Bread Flour
  • (Regular bleached flour is fine but if you are
  • looking for a healthier alternative try unbleached)
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • 1 packet of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil *
  • 2 tablespoons of rosemary **
  • 2 tablespoons of oregano **
  • 1 tablespoon of ground garlic **
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
Instructions
  1. Disregard the yeast directions to activate it. Ours called for ¼ cup of warm water but for this recipe add 1 ½ cups of warm water with the 1 teaspoon of sugar. Mix the yeast in and let it stand for for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in the rest of the ingredients by hand or with an electric mixer. Add the flour in slowly (1 cup at a time) unless you're one of those people who look good covered in flour. You will have to add between five and six cups of flour depending on the humidity and elevation of where you are. When the bread is slightly sticky, it's ready to go!
  3. Here comes the waiting game. You have to let the mixture proof for 1 hour. Leave it in the mixing bowl and cover it with a damp towel. This prevents a crust from forming across the dough. If your oven doesn't have a proof setting, you can leave the dough out on your counter or some where warm.
  4. After the hour is up, knead the dough a little bit more by hand. Just enough to get the excess air out. You can also separate the dough into greased bread tins at this time. Now comes the second 1 hour proofing.
  5. At the end of the second proof time, knead or light push the dough down into the tins. Take a food grade brush and "paint" the top with olive oil. Take a fork and poke holes in the bread so the olive oil sinks in.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and throw the bread in for 30 minutes.
  7. Try not to hyperventilate too much as your house fills with the wondrous smell of baking bread. You'll smell a delicious combination of yeast, olive oil, and herbs. As hard as this sounds, you should let your bread cool slightly before trying to remove it from the tins. You may have to cut along the edges with a knife to help release it.
  8. Once the bread is free, slice it and add olive oil with fresh mozzarella and tomato. Or for breakfast, add a little butter. There's absolutely no way you can go wrong with this bread! Enjoy!