When it comes to bread my favorite is always the simple and crusty Italian white bread. Not only is it easy to make but it has to be one of the best breads that I have had. You can do so many things with nice crusty bread. Tomorrow I will show you a simple recipe for one of those things. But today break some bread and dip it into a nice olive oil for the perfect snack.
2-1/2 teaspoons yeast
1-1/4 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg yolk
1. In a small bowl add yeast, 2 tablespoons of the water and 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar. Sit aside and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, remaining sugar, salt, yeast mixture and a little water at a time until a dough consistency has formed. Knead for 5 minutes. In a plastic bowl add olive oil. Add dough, covering with the oil into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place for 1-1/2 - 2 hours.
3. Punch dough down and lay into a working surface (non-stick baking mat), shape into a 12x4 inch loaf, do not make thin. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 40 more minutes.
4. Pre-heat oven to 400F. In a small bowl add egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water, mix well. With a pastry brush coat the entire bread with mixture. With a knife carefully cut slits across the top of dough. place bread on a non-stick baking mat on a baking sheet. Place a bowl of water in a heat proof dish and sit on bottom rack.
5. Cook for 30-40 minutes until golden and the bread sounds hollow when knocked on.
Yields: 1 loaf