I hear it’s snowing all over today. It’s cold today in Vegas! That’s why I stayed home and cooked some delicious homemade bread in my warm house. Don’t be scared, it was super easy! Just like Oprah I love bread! I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t eat it! Here is the recipe. It makes two large Italian bread loaves. When I make it I either give one away to a neighbor or freeze the second loaf for future use. My kids can’t keep their hands off.
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons (or 2 packets) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar, divided
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
7 to 9 cups all-purpose flour, divided
In a small bowl combine the water, yeast, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Stir just to dissolve the yeast. Set aside and cover with a towel and sit for 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a mixer, mix the remaining ingredients including the remaining sugar and yeast mixture after 10 minutes. Slowly add the flour starting with 3 cups up to 7 as needed.
Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel to rise for 20-40 minutes until doubled in size.
On a lightly floured surface, punch down the dough and divide it in half into thick baguette shapes about 10 inches long. Place the loaves on a greased baking sheet or sheet pan. With a sharp knife, make three angles 1/2 inch deep slashes on the top of each loaf. Let the loaves rise uncovered for 20-40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. For a crisper crust, spray water in the oven with a spray bottle just before baking and again a few times during baking or I like to fill an oven safe pan with water and leave it in the oven just below the bread.
Enjoy! It is the softest yummiest bread you’ll ever eat even after de-thawing.