Old World Recipe for Italian/French Bread

(makes one loaf)

1 cup lukewarm water (110 degrees)

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 packages Fleishman yeast, or 1 cake compressed yeast

3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of sifted flour

Pour the lukewarm water over the salt and the granular yeast, or the crumbled yeast cake. I let the yeast grow at this point then I add the flour. Add enough flour to make a soft dough - until the dough breaks away from the side of the bowl and can easily be handled. Turn onto a floured board and knead until smooth- about 10 minutes and also is elastic to the touch. Place in a greased bowl, covered with a damp, warm towel and place in a warm, dark place. I usually put it in the oven (make sure it is not on). Let rise for about 2 to 2 and a half hours.

Pull out the bread, punch down, and place back in the bowl, letting it rise until double in bulk for another hour and a half. Now, take it out of the bowl onto a floured board and let rest for 15 minutes. Then roll it out at approximately 1/4 inch or thinner in a rectangle. Like you are going to make a pizza. Then, roll away from you like a jelly roll, crimping the edges in until it is completely rolled. Place this on a cookie sheet and let sit for another hour and a half.

Make diagonal slits about 3 1/4 inch long along the top of the bread. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes brushing every 10 minutes. I have a water bottle sprayer that works mighty fine.

I love the aroma's in my home while baking bread and/or pastries. Now all you have to do is pull it out, let it cool for 10 - 15 minutes, and serve with your dinner. This is a great holiday surprise for your family at the big dinner. Fresh, and I do mean, fresh Italian or French Style Old World Bread.

Buon appetito! Kieto


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