Do you know what happens when you make a loaf of homemade Italian bread at noon? I do. You eat half of the loaf for lunch - by yourself. Uggggg. Why can't I resist the smell of freshly baked bread? I should really know better by now and I should have eaten lunch BEFORE I started bread baking.
Seriously - I have zero will power when it comes to bread - straight out of the oven. I didn't even wait for this delicious loaf to cool before I started slicing. First it was just the end of the loaf - to make sure it was good. Then it was one tiny slice - then another - you get the idea. Before I knew it - I had eaten waaaay too much bread.
Considering how much of the loaf I ate, I guess it goes without saying that this Italian bread is delicious. The recipe came from micheleswomancave.blogspot.com. I modified it from a bread machine recipe but it's really simple. I love it and I know my family is going to love it too - if there's any left - that is.
3 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp bread machine active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp extra light virgin olive oil
1 large egg slightly beaten
1 tbsp water
Pour water into mixer bowl and sprinkle yeast and sugar over top. Allow to sit 5 minutes until foamy.
Add flour, salt and oil. Knead in mixer at least 5 minutes.
Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover and let rise 1 hour.
Shape into a loaf. Cut a slit down the middle. Cover and let rise 20 minutes.
Brush top of bread with the mixture of 1 beaten egg and 1 tbsp water. Bake 30 minutes at 350°F
Slice - preferably AFTER it cools.
Dip this bread in oil or top with butter.
In my mind, I'm already starting to run through all of the things that I can make with this bread. Maybe some gourmet sandwiches to pack in the kids lunch boxes and maybe even some yummy french toast for breakfast. Looking forward to all of my Italian bread creations already.