The other day was rainy and soggy. I thought I would make sauce for dinner, but I didn't have any italian bread. In my head you can't have one without the other. Unfortunately, the last think I wanted to do was drag the kids out in the rain. I knew we would all be soaked before I even got them strapped into their car seats.
I knew I had flour and some yeast packets in the pantry. I figured I could make italian bread if I could find a recipe. I looked at the Fleischmann's yeast packet and went to their website. They have an entire website dedicated to bread baking! It is called Bread World. Like Disney world for bread lovers. You can find recipes for breads, rolls, calzones, pizza and pie crusts, pretty much any thing bread related. Just when I was trying to stay away from carbs…
This is their recipe for Italian Bread.
1-3/4 cups warm water (100° to 110°F)
2 envelopes Fleischmann's® Active Dry Yeast
2 teaspoons salt
5 to 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Additional flour, optional
(Makes 2 loaves)
Place 1/2 cup warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add remaining water, salt, and 2 cups flour; blend well. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 20 to 40 minutes. (I let mine rise for 1 hour – I hide the bowl in my microwave to make sure it is "draft free".)
Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface and divide in half. Roll each half to 12-inch circle. Roll up each circle tightly to make a loaf. Pinch seams and ends to seal; taper ends by gently rolling back and forth. Place loaves, seam sides down, on large greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 20 to 40 minutes. (I let it rise for 1 hour after forming the loaves.)
Lightly dust loaves with additional flour. Make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes (1/4 inch deep) across top of each loaf with a sharp knife. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until done. Remove from sheet and let cool on wire rack.