Basic Italian Bread
Who doesn’t love a nice crusty, chewy and warm slice of Italian bread? Come on! This basic Italian Bread recipe has been in my family for generations. It’s a very easy recipe. Hence – basic Italian bread.
2 Cups Warm Water (about 90 degrees F.)
2 Ts. Salt
Fill large bowl with the water
Sprinkle the yeast overtop and mix well.
Let sit 10 minutes until bubbly.
Add the yeast, flour, and salt to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon (or mix with your clean hands) until everything is mixed. The dough will be fairly wet and sticky at this point.
Cover and let stand in a warm spot for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours (until doubled in volume).
Punch down the dough, folding it over on itself two or three times, cover and let rise once more until doubled, (about 1 hour). If you choose, you could refrigerate your dough at this time and leave it overnight to prepare the next day.
Turn out your dough onto a floured baking sheet, and without overworking it too much, shape into one large or two smaller round or oval shaped loaves, using as much extra flour as needed to keep it from sticking.
Slash across the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife or razor just prior to baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and place a casserole dish with boiling water on the lower oven rack. Bake your bread 30 minutes, turn the baking sheet around, and reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for another 30−45 minutes.
At this point your bread should be golden brown and should sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature and serve.