This is an easy Italian bread that I’ve been making for over 20 years.  With fast-rising yeast, a mixer with a dough hook, and directions for quick-mixing, in no time you’ll have two big loaves of hearty bread.

EASY ITALIAN BREAD

  • 2 packages fast-rising dry yeast
  • 2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1-3/4 cup water heated to 130 degrees F
  • 2 Tblsp. vegetable oil

In the large bowl of mixer, place yeast, sugar, salt and two cups of flour.  Mix to blend and add the 130 degree F water and oil.  Mix on medium speed with regular beater for 3 minutes.  Insert dough hook and beat for another 6:30 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep dough from being sticky.

Place dough on a floured board, cover with a cloth, and let rest for 10 minutes.  Punch down dough and form into two long narrow loaves.  Place loaves on a greased pan, cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Before placing loaves in oven, moisten your fingers and gently spread water over the top of the loaves.  Cut three slashes in the top with a serrated knife.  Place loaves in oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.  These loaves measure approximately 15 inches long by 6 inches wide.

This is my favorite bread to use as garlic bread, bruschetta, French Toast, stuffing, bread pudding or in any recipe that calls for a sturdy old-fashioned bread.