Italian Bread

Italian Bread

Reference: Italian Bread
Romertopf Recipes

Makes 2 Loaves - Recipe easily divides in half for 1 loaf

Ingredients:

1 TBL. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 packages active dry yeast (about 4 1/2 tsp)
about 5 cups bread flour (all­-purpose flour may be used also)
1 TBL. butter or margarine
1 3/4 cups water
1 egg white

Preparation:
In large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeast and 2 cups of flour. In 1 qt saucepan, heat water & butter
to 120-­130°F (butter does not need to melt). With mixer at low speed, gradually
beat liquid into dry ingredients until just blended. Increase speed to medium, beat 2 minutes,
occasionally scraping sides of bowl.


Beat in 1/2 cup flour to make a thick batter, continue beating mixture at medium speed 2 minutes,
scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. Stir in enough additional flour (about 1 3/4 cups) to make a
soft dough. Turn dough onto floured surface, knead until smooth & elastic, about 10 minutes, adding
flour while kneading. Coat large bowl with oil, add dough, and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap
and a clean dry towel and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.


Soak 2 Romertopf Clay Bakers of choice (French/Italian Bakers, Rectangular Bread Bakers, 3 qt Clay Bakers, or Round Bread Bakers) for 20 minutes. Punch down dough and knead lightly
on floured surface. Divide dough in half, cover with the bowl or cloth, and let rest for 15 minutes for
easier shaping. While dough rests, dry inside of bakers with a clean towel and spray lightly with
cooking spray. You may want to line the inside of the baker with parchment paper will help avoid the
bread remove easily from the bread pan)


On floured surface, roll each dough half into a 13" x 10" rectangle. From 13" side, thightly roll dough,
pinch seam on bottom and ends to seal and place in baker. Spray top lightly with cooking spray.
Repeat with second half of dough. Place bakers in barely warm oven, cover with a clean cloth and
let rise for approximately 1 hour or until doubled. Cut 3- ­4 slashes diagonally on top of each loaf with
razor blade or very sharp knife. Set oven temperature to 425° Fahrenheit. Bake 25-­30
minutes. Beat egg white with 1 TBL. water. Remove bakers from oven, brush each loaf with egg
white mixture and continue to bake 5­-10 minutes or until top is golden brown.


*for a softer crust, omit egg wash and use melted butter

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