This crusty bread is as big a treat today as it was when Mom made it back when I was growing up. It goes so well with an Italian meal or alongside a big bowl of soup. —Cookie Curci, San Jose, California
- 1 package (1/4 ounces) active dry yeast
- 1-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, garlic salt, and cheese. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each half into a 14-in. loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Brush loaves with water. Make three diagonal slashes about 1/2 in. deep with a very sharp knife in each loaf.
- Fill a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan with 1 in. of hot water and place on the bottom oven rack. Bake bread at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).
Originally published as Cheesy Italian Bread in Taste of Home August/September 1997, p35
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