Italian Bread



Italian Bread

1 tablespoon sugar
2 tsp salt
2 packages active dry yeast
about 5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
salad oil
1 egg white

In large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeast and 2 cups of flour. In 1-quart saucepan over low heat, heat butter or margarine and 1 ¾ cups water until very warm (butter does not need to melt).

With mixer at low speed, gradually beat liquid into dry ingredients until just blended. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.

Beat in ½ cup flour to make thick batter; continue beating mixture at medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula. With wooden spoon, stir in enough additional flour (about 1 ¾ cups) to make a soft dough.

Turn dough onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour while kneading.

Cut dough in half; cover pieces with bowl; let dough rest 20 minutes for easier shaping.

Grease large cookie sheet; sprinkle cookie sheet with cornmeal.

On floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll each half into 15â€￾x11â€￾ rectangle. From 15-inch side, tightly roll dough, jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam to seal.

Place loaves, seam side down, on cookie sheet and taper ends. Brush loaves with oil; cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.

Preheat ove to 425oF. Meanwhile, remove leaves from refrigerator; uncover; let stand 10 minutes. Cut 3 or 4 diagonal slashes on top of each loaf. Bake 20 minutes.

In small bowl with fork, beat egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Remove loaves from oven; brush with egg-white mixture; return to oven and bake 5 minutes.