Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Italian Bread - Step by Step with Photos

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Making homemade bread for my family is one of my passions. It is so yummy and so much better for you than what you can buy in the store. And in all honesty is really not that difficult once you get the hang of it. Here is our favorite Italian Bread. We serve this with pasta, soups and more.

  • 1 Tbsp yeast

  • 1 cup warm water less 1 Tbsp water

  • 2 Tbsp sugar

  • 3 cups bread flour

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 2 stiffly beaten egg whites

  • egg yolks and sesame seeds for top of bread

I make most of my bread in my kitchen aid, but you can make this recipe by hand or even in a bread machine if you like.

During the winter months I rinse the bowl of my mixer with hot water before starting, so that the chilly stainless doesn't effect the yeast. Pour warm water into pre-warmed bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Mix with your finger and let proof for about five minutes. When you return it should be nice and bubbly. You can click between the two photos to see the difference in the yeast.

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While the yeast is proofing, beat the egg whites nice and stiff. These you can set aside.

To the yeast, add the salt and flour one cup at a time. Once all the flour in mixed in, it will be quite dry, add the butter.

Next add the egg whites. This will make the dough very wet. Not to worry the kneading will turn this wet mess into a beautifully elastic dough. I let the machine knead the dough for about 10 minutes. The dough will have pulled away from the sides of the bowl leaving it clean.

While the dough is kneading I oil my favorite dough bowl. This is where the dough will go to rise. I cover it with a clean dish towel and place it near the wood stove for about an hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.

Now it is time to shape your bread. We like to make a braid. Cut the dough into three equal pieces and roll into ropes. Braid the three together turning both ends under. Cover with dish towel and let rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes or so. If you click through the photos below you will see all the steps mention to form the loaf.

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After the second rising brush the beaten egg yolk that has been mixed with a little water over the entire braid. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Again, here you can click through the photos to see the mentioned steps.

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Sorry for the slide shows in this post. I couldn't figure out another way to get all the pictures included.


  1. That bread was so good mom! It was definately one of your best.

  2. We are making your bread right now and can't wait to try it. Thanks for all the yummy recipes!


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