Basic Italian Bread

Total Time:
3 hr 26 min
Prep:
35 min
Inactive:
2 hr
Cook:
51 min

Yield:
1 large loaf Italian bread
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
Directions

Place the water and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer and allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes. Using a dough hook attachment, add the flour and sugar to the water and mix on low speed until a dough starts to form. Drizzle the oil and salt into the dough and beat on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes, or until a smooth, firm, elastic dough is formed.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and spray the dough with a thin coating of cooking spray. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to proof in a warm, draft-free place for 11/2 hours or until doubled in size. Remove the plastic wrap, punch down and flatten the rounded dough with the heel of your hand. Roll the dough up tightly, sealing the seam well after each roll. The dough should be elongated and oval-shaped, with tapered and rounded (not pointed) ends.

Preheat the oven lined with a pizza stone to 425 degrees F. Alternately, an inverted baking sheet may be used in place of a pizza stone.

Place the dough on a baker's peel heavily dusted with semolina flour, or cornmeal, or alternately on an inverted baking sheet. Allow the dough to proof, loosely covered with a damp towel, for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. Brush the dough with the egg white and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top. Using a razor blade or sharp knife, score 3 (1/4-inch deep) slashes across the top of the dough at a 45 degree angle.

Spray the dough generously with water from a water bottle and place in the oven on the baking stone. Immediately close the oven and bake for 3 minutes. Open the oven door and spray the dough again with the water bottle. Close the oven door and bake for an additional 3 minutes before spraying the dough for a third time (the spraying of the dough will ensure a crisp golden brown crust). Bake the dough for 45 minutes, or until a hollow thud is heard when the bread is whacked with the bowl of a wooden spoon. Allow the bread to cool slightly before serving.


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4.7 107
This bread is fabulous and really quite easy to make. I used 2 1/2 packets of active dry yeast since I could not obtain cake yeast; worked great. My Kitchenaid mixer started to get hot so it was necessary to knead the dough instead for 8 minutes. The loaf is very large so I think it could be made into 2 smaller ones. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Simple and delicious. This loaf is the size of a roadside mailbox. My kitchen aid mixer was struggling with this large loaf so I will cut the recipe in half next time. When I did the yeast conversion it came out to 2.9 Tablespoons which seemed like a lot but the bread came out perfectly. I put a sheet pan filled with water on the rack under the stone. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Best bread I have ever made! Thought it was kind of hard at first and then I realized I forgot to put the moist towel on it after baking but I did it before it cooled completely and it turned out delicious! Can't believe how easy it was too. Emeril is the best! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wonderful recipe! Having just returned from Europe, this loaf was the closest thing to the bread we enjoyed so much in Italy. We used King Arthur bread flour and the 2 T. active dry yeast recommended in one of the other reviews. Our bread was done after approximately 25 minutes so be sure to check on it. Will use parchment paper since we rarely have cornmeal handy at home. Buon appetito! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Made it three times. This is my go to recipe. I am going to experiment on shapes for sandwiches. Thanks Emirl! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Super easy, very good. no issues, and I wouldn't change a thing. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Awesome is all I need to say. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My family loves this recipe for Italian Bread. It is so easy that my son started baking it at around 16 years old. I use 2 Tablespoons of active dry yeast. I live in Florida, so it is doubled in size at around 30 minutes and for the second rise after shaping into a loaf it takes about 15 minutes. Baking time, I found for my oven is 9 minutes of misting plus an additional 20 - 25 minutes. item not reviewed by moderator and published
So, I have tried to make bread before and it sorta worked. Even tried recipes that start with a biga that ferments for 24 hours… nah. Didn't turn out nearly as good as this. A few things I altered based on other commenters recommendations: I did not have cake yeast but used 1.5 packets of regular grocery store rapid rise yeast in the 2 cups of warm water. I added the evoo and sugar to the water/yeast mixture. Then used my KA mixer to combine the flour and salt. Added the yeast water and let the mixer work it until combined. Then I worked it by hand until it was a rubber ball. Let it rise, split it into two loaves, let it rise again (although it didn't "double" in size, it was sufficient). I didn't have a spray bottle but just used a pastry brush and did the 3 min at 475 degree thing twice then dropped the temp to 350. I think that my pizza stone was helpful too. Both loaves turned out as good as what I would buy in the bakery at Whole Foods. item not reviewed by moderator and published
According to a yeast convertion website, 3/4 oz of fresh yeast = 3.75 tsp active dry BUT 1/3 cup fresh yeast = 8 tsp active dry. Can anyone help clear this up for me? I'm new to baking bread so I used 2 packets of the active dry yeast - I can't find fresh anywhere! The bread turned out great! Almost as good as the loaves I get from my local bakery... Almost! I will definitely make this again. item not reviewed by moderator and published

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