Italian Bread

Italian Bread

Dad doesn’t get enough credit here on the blog or in real life.  Mom gets all the glory and attention being my wingman in almost everything I do, but Dad deserves glory too.  I wouldn’t be here without him, clearly, but I also wouldn’t have had many a deep, yet unexpected conversation on just about any topic, have all the knowledge, particularly about history, that I do, know how to work the camera that provides the photos for this blog, have a closet full of fancy clothes and shoes that he bought with one smile thrown his way from his “little girl,” have a partner to watch TV shows Mom doesn’t like, or have had anyone to go see Kathy Griffin with me.  Yes, he really did take me to see Kathy a few years ago, and sometimes, I think he probably still regrets it.  It’s also one of my favorite things when he watches a chick flick with Mom and me, and he does quite frequently.

Dad has helped write written many a school paper, even if neither of us still understand The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; he has been to every shopping mall in the metro Detroit area.  Dad’s the chauffeur when Mom or I want to go to Downtown Detroit, or a number of other hard to find places.  When it comes to the blog, ingredients are sourced, photos are taken, and recipes are taste tested all courtesy of Dad.  Most important though, he supports me, no matter what, even if I can’t possibly imagine when he dreamed of having a child he thought of me.

Dough

Proofed Italian Dough

Instead of having the normal child that goes with the flow, he got me: the girl who hated school until she started homeschooling in the middle of high school and now dreams of being a best-selling author and popular blogger, instead of a doctor or lawyer or accountant or something concrete and easier to achieve.  But just like Mom and me, he does as much as he can to make my dreams come true and probably does a heck of a lot of hoping, because at the end of the day with what I want to achieve, hard work alone likely won’t get me there.  And he does pretty much all of this with a smile on his face.  A smile I’m eternally grateful to see every day.

Unrisen Italian Loaf

Unbaked Italian Bread

So, basically, what I’m trying to say is, thanks Dad.  I may not say it enough, so now’s my chance for the world, or at least a very small part of it, to hear me say I appreciate you and don’t know what I’d do without you.

I asked Dad over and over if he had anything in particular he wanted me to make for Father’s Day.  He couldn’t think of anything, so knowing he’s not always a sweets guy, I made a loaf of bread.  Bread, a rare treat in my house, is one of Dad’s favorite things.  When he told me his grandmother used to make bread all the time and how he loved it, I knew I’d chosen the right thing to make.  The bread was a big hit.  Just another little way for me to say I hope you enjoy your day, Dad.  And even if I don’t always say it, you’re the best.

By the way, this bread is fantastic.  I ate it plain, with garlic, and with pumpkin butter and blackberry preserves; it was great every way.  The perfect simple loaf of bread, it’s super easy to make.  Prep was about fifteen minutes.  The proofing time is a little long, but take that time to run an errand, take a walk, read a book, whatever, and enjoy some homemade bread; it really is so much better than that bought at the store.  Don’t forget to thank your dad too, because dads make the world a better place.

Italian Bread

Italian Bread

4.3 from 3 reviews
Italian Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups warm water (about 100 degrees F)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 5-5 ¾ cups bread flour, plus more for kneading and pan
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon corn meal
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, stir the yeast into ½ cup of the warm water. Allow it to proof until frothy. Make sure the yeast is frothy and has bubbles in it or it may be dead and your bread will not rise.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine 5 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix on low just to combine. Make sure to break up the sugar. Add the yeast mixture, remaining water, and oil. Mix on lowest speed until a dough begins to form. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky and not coming together. I did not need to add more flour. After the dough is basically formed, raise the speed to 2 and knead for 7 minutes. Then, remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface to knead by hand for about 2 minutes. You should have a smooth dough, but it is okay if it is still a little sticky.
  3. Move the dough to a large lightly oiled bowl. Lightly oil the top of the dough before covering the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place for about 1 ½ hours until at least doubled in size. It should fill the entire bowl. I put mine in the microwave with the light on, but not the microwave itself.
  4. Remove the plastic, punch down the dough, and flatten it with the heel of your hand. With the dough still in the bowl, roll it up tightly, making sure to seal the seam well after each roll. You are shaping the dough during this process. In the end, the dough should look like a loaf of bread: long, but still wide and slightly rounded with tapered and rounded ends. As long as you’re happy with it, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the dough on an inverted baking sheet covered with parchment and dusted lightly with flour and cornmeal. Cover dough with a lightly floured cloth or piece of parchment to rise again for about 30 minutes until at least doubled in size.
  6. After risen again, take a small knife and make a slash in the center of the dough from end to end about ¼ inch deep. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
  7. Put a pan on the bottom rack in the oven with 1 cup of water. Allow to cook in the oven for a couple minutes to begin to create steam. Then put the pan with dough on the rack above the pan with water. Bake for about 30 minutes, until loaf is deep golden brown in color and has a hollow sound when tapped. The water will have evaporated.
  8. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack. When cool, or slightly warm, slice and enjoy. May be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days in a paper bag or wrapped in parchment. May be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. May be thawed at room temperature for several hours or in a 350 degree F oven. Pieces should be wrapped in parchment and warmed for about 10 minutes, while the whole loaf will take 30 or more minutes not wrapped in parchment.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

 

 

Comments

  1. Arturo Spaccarotelli says:

    There truly is nothing like a good loaf of bread; a nice hard crust with a firm full center; add some dry sausage, hard cheese, a few olives and lunch is served.

    • Laura says:

      I love bread too! The real test of a great bread, though, is if it can be eaten with nothing on it. And this bread passes that test.

  2. Rick says:

    Thsi bread has a very nice texture and the crust is perfect.

  3. I’ve NEVER made my own bread before (minus quick loafs without yeast)… so it’s good to have a nice basic italian bread recipe at my hands! It looks amazing… I want to take a bite right now! Wish I had this bread for my sandwich today. :)

    • Laura says:

      Sally, this bread is so easy to make. You should definitely give it a try. It takes a little time to rise, but active prep is almost non-existent. This is the first loaf of bread I’ve made, though I have worked with yeast before a couple of times, and it’s a great one to start with.

  4. What a wonderful fathers day gift. I love homemade bread and your looks perfect!

    • Laura says:

      Homemade bread is the best; I will definitely be making it more often. My Dad deserved a good Father’s Day gift, as he is a great dad. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  5. Debbie Eccard says:

    What a beautiful narrative! And the bread looks fabulous. I still love good bread…

  6. Ana McLean says:

    I found your bread recipe on pinterest and made it today. It’s such a beautiful dough to work with and the texture of the bread was excellent and I loved how easy this was to make. The bread is amazing, my family loved it. Thank you for sharing your recipes and I will be trying more of them.

    • Laura says:

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the bread, Ana! I loved that it was easy and yet had such great flavor and texture too! I really appreciate your comment :)

  7. Anna says:

    I’m making this right now and I’m so excited!!! I have never made Italian Bread but I love eating it! Thank you for this recipe!

  8. Meg says:

    I made this today and it turned out great. I took it out a bit before the 30 mins because it looked very dark. Turns out it was not a problem. The only comment I would make is the “time” mentioned on the recipe. Obviously you need to let it rise, so the total time of “45 minutes” is deceptive. I will make again for sure.

    • Laura says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the bread, Meg! The 45 minutes is active time. The rising time is hands off, so I didn’t include it in the time – sorry for the confusion.

  9. Buck Weber says:

    Wow, that looks really good. Just need a bowl of homemade soup to go with it!

  10. Hey Laura! I don’t have a basic bread recipe yet, and this one looks like it will be perfect! Looks like it would make great bruschetta too!.

    • Laura says:

      This would definitely make great bruschetta. I hope you love this bread as much as I do! Thanks for visiting, Christine!

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