Italian Bread
 Recipe Source

Author: Robin and Bob Young

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 Recipe Type
3 c    warm Water (110 F)  
1 t    Sugar  
2 T    Active Dry Yeast  
1 T    Malt syrup  
2 T    Basil, dried (Optional)  
2 med    Garlic cloves, crushed (Optional)  
  Sea salt  
7 c    Bread flour  
1 Pre-heat oven to 350F
2 Add the sugar, malt syrup and yeast to the warm water and let proof.
3 Stir in 4 cups of flour, basil and garlic and beat until smooth. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
4 Beat in the salt and then add enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Knead until as soft and smooth as a bambino's behind. Turn in a greased bowl, cover, and let double in size.
5 Once doubled, punch down and divide into half. Place back in separate bowls, cover, and let rise.
6 Once doubled again, punch down and form into two pudgy long loaves. Grease heavy cookie sheets and sprinkle with corn meal. Place the loaves on the sheets, cover with a towel, and let rise.
7 Once risen, mist with water and place in a preheated 350 F oven. Mist loaves with water and turn occasionally while they bake. Bread is done when golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30-40 minutes. Optimum loaf temperature is 190F.
Yield: 2 Loaves
Preparation time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Ready in: 3 hours
 Cooking Tips
Misting the loaves creates a crispy crust. If you do not want the crust crispy, do not mist.
Try this: Using a standard mix - no herbs added to the dough - I am making 1 batch, 2 loaves, through the initial mixing stage. I am then dividing the dough in half, placing in a plastic covered plastic bowl and refrigerating the dough until needed, minimum of 16 hours. Use 1 batch at a time.
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