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Italian Bread Recipe

Italian Bread Recipe

My family laughs at me when I tell them that this poor dough never has a change for an hour, but it makes up for all that punching down with its texture and good taste. My mother-in-law taught me how to make this bread...now the recipe's been passed down to my daughter and two granddaughters.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 40 min. YIELD:32 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 3 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 to 10 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions

  • 1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add the sugar, shortening, salt, egg, remaining water and 4 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  • 2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • 3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each portion into a loaf. Place seam side down on greased baking sheets.
  • 4. With a sharp knife, make four shallow diagonal slashes across the top of each loaf. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • 5. Bake at 350° for 37-42 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Brush with butter. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

Nutritional Facts

1 slice equals 135 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 8 mg cholesterol, 227 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein. Diabetic Exchange: 1 starch.