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Mom’s Italian Bread

I think Mom used to bake at least four of these tender loaves at once, and they never lasted long. She served the bread with every Italian meal. I love it toasted, too. —Linda Harrington, Windham, New Hampshire
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 20 min.
  • Makes
    2 loaves (12 slices each)

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide in half. Shape each portion into a loaf. Place each loaf seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across top of each loaf. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Mom’s Italian Bread Tips

What makes Italian bread unique?

Italian bread is super soft and absorbent, making it perfect for soaking up sauces. This homemade bread has a light crust that’s not too hard or crunchy, so it works really well for making sandwich recipes, too!

What do you eat with Italian bread?

Italian bread is amazing dipped in olive oil or thick sauces. It pairs well with a flavorful Bolognese or a saucy chicken dish like chicken cacciatore.

How can I tell if my yeast is still active?

It's so important to test yeast! To see if your yeast is still active, dissolve 1 tsp. of sugar into warm water and then mix in your active dry yeast. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. If the mixture becomes nice and foamy, you’re good to go!

My dough is taking forever to double! What’s going on?

Dough will rise slower or quicker depending on the temperature of your kitchen. When proofing homemade Italian bread, place it in a warm, humid environment if you can. It will help the yeast create carbon dioxide, which encourages the dough to expand. Find this tip and more in our ultimate bread baking guide.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 106 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 197mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch.
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