CRUSTY ITALIAN BREAD
Makes 2 loaves
1 1/3 C. warm water
2 1/4 Tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 Tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tsp. olive oil
4 C. flour
HOW TO MAKE:
1-Place warm water, yeast and brown sugar in mixing bowl. Stir and let stand for a few minutes until it start to bubble and foam a bit.
2-Add olive oil and salt. Mix and add the flour gradually.
3-You want to add enough that the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. You want to mix it with the dough hook for a few minutes.
4-Cover and let the dough rise until doubled about 30 minutes.
5-Punch down dough and divide in two and form into two loaves (I doubled the recipe this time.)
6-Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled.
7-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1 Tbsp. water
8-Brush the risen loaves with the egg mixture.
Make a single long quick cut down the center of the loaves with a sharp knife.
9-Now here’s the secret. Place atleast 1 cup hot water in a shallow pan and place it on the rack underneath the bread. The steam will make the crust turn perfectly. You may need to add a bit more water during cooking. You do not want it to evaporate.
10-Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the loaves turn golden brown and sound hollow when you tap them.
11-Remove from pan and let cool on racks. I always like to rub butter over the hot crust!
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