It’s always good to have a simple bread recipe on hand, and this is one of my favorites. There are no fancy ingredients, and the hardest part is remembering to start the bread in time to rise and bake before dinner is ready. Well, that’s the hardest part for me anyway.
I am able to fit both loaves on a single baking sheet, although you could easily half the recipe if one loaf is all you need. Like most bread, it’s best when it fresh from the oven, but it does stay soft for a day or two after baking (I keep mine in a zip-top bag on the counter), so I usually make both loaves because they always get eaten. Feel free to leave off the sesame seeds, or use something else entirely if you prefer.
Easy Italian Bread
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cup bread flour
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg + 2 teaspoons water
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in the sugar and salt. Add the bread flour and mix well for 2-3 minutes on medium speed.
- Gradually blend in the all-purpose flour, about 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms–you may not use all of the flour.
- Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and turn onto a floured surface.
- Divide the dough in half and shape each portion into a loaf, approximately 12 inches long. Place each loaf, seam side down, onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Cover and let rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Using a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and water. Brush egg mixture over the loaves and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Who Dished it Up First: Adapted from Taste of Home.