Italian Bread


For a crunchier crust if you bake this bread early in the day, pop the bread in a 425*F (220*C) oven for about 5 minutes just before serving.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/8 cups warm water (110*F)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Water for brushing
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon cornmeal

Place the first 6 ingredients into your bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the dough cycle.
Remove dough and divide, form into a round or oblong loaf.
Sprinkle cornmeal onto a well-greased baking sheet. Place loaf on pan seam side down. Brush top of loaf with water. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm draft- free place until doubled in size, about 50 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400*F.
Brush loaf with egg wash mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Make 4 deep slashes with a razor blade or very sharp knife across the top of the dough, being careful not to tear and deflate the dough. Place a pan of hot water in bottom of oven.

Bake on center rack of oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped, turning the baking pan around after 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the bread on wire racks. Makes 1 loaf.

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