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The Practical Baker
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 • Posted August 4, 2010

Italian Bread

Recipe courtesy Kitchen Supply

Yield: Two Loaves

I recently had one of those pesky birthdays that seem to come around every couple of months. Sheila gave me a very nice, large baking stone to replace the pitifully small pizza stone I had been using. The little pizza stone was fine for small loaves , but for the larger loaves, and for multiple loaf recipes, it just wasn’t up to the job. The manufacturers of the new stone included a couple of recipes, so I tried this one first, and it turned out beautifully!

1 pkg. active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105-115F)

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups warm water

6-7 cups flour

Extra flour or cornmeal

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water, let stand 5 minutes. Dissolve salt in 2 cups warm water. Put 5 cups of flour in large bowl, add wet ingredients, mix well. Add enough remaining flour to make a workable dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic and has a satiny sheen. Or, using dough hook on electric stand mixer, knead for 7-8 minutes. Place in greased bowl and turn once to grease top. Cover with damp cloth or plastic wrap and place bowl in warm, draft-free place; let rise till double in bulk: 1-1 ½ hours.

Turn dough out onto board and knead for five minutes more. Divide dough into two pieces and round each piece into a ball. Return to greased bowl; turn once to grease top. Cover as before and let rise till doubled, approximately 40-60 minutes.

Separate pieces of dough (they will come apart). Roll each ball into an oblong shape using both hands. Shape into Italian-style loaves. Sprinkle flour or cornmeal on baking peel. Place loaves on peel, cover, let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes).

Brush tops with melted butter. Make one long slash, about 1-inch deep nearly the entire length of the loaf (a single-edged razor blade works best). Place baking stone in oven; pre-heat to 375F. Slide loaves from peel onto the stone. Bake for 50-60 minutes on stone until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped.

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