It's always a joy to watch people's faces when I present them with homemade bread. This recipe makes two loaves—one for you to enjoy and one to share with others.—Nicole Gillenardo, St. Peters, Missouri
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon butter, softened
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, salt and 1 cup flour. 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. Roll each portion into an 8-in. x 6-in. rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal and tuck ends under.
- Grease a baking sheet; sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves seam side down on prepared pan. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack; spread with butter. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).
Originally published as Simply Delicious Italian Bread in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2008, p188
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