There's nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread. It always reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen. Somehow - without any measurements or calculations - she got it just right every time. And even though I've tried making it myself, it never turns out like hers. Hers was the best.
But while spending this week visiting with my sister-in-law, I must admit that her recipe comes in a close second. We (actually, she) spent most of the afternoon mixing, kneading, and baking fresh loaves of bread to feed all twelve of us. (There are eight children between our two families!)
But even with a full house we can always find time for buon cibo. Having several little helpers is always a bonus! My daughter, who we call the "carb machine," (she lives for pasta and bread) enjoyed making and eating it more than anyone.
This recipe is so easy and very tasty. It makes a great sponge for soaking up your favorite pasta sauce....
HOMEMADE BREAD LOAVES:
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 TB salt
3 1/2 cups very warm water
4 1/2 TSP (or two packages) yeast
7 cups of flour
Dissolve yeast completely in the warm water. In a separate large bowl, combine salt and olive oil. Add five cups of flour. Add the yeast/water mixture. Mix thoroughly. Then add remaining two cups of flour while mixing.
Knead until springy and a nice dough is formed. Grease the sides and bottom of the bowl, replace dough. Let rise (covered) for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Once risen, think of something that makes you very angry, then punch the dough down with your fist. Knead again. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead again (Trust me , it's worth it). Divide the dough into four equal parts. Knead each ball of dough individually.
Grease two sheet pans with olive oil & butter and sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll out each ball into a large rectangle. Then roll the dough lengthwise, folding the ends and pinching the seams as you roll. Once rolled, smooth out the loaf by rolling it a few times on the floured surface to ensure that there are no holes in the loaf. Place loaves on pan(s) and let rise for about 40 minutes.
Once risen, set oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.
Makes four loaves total.
You will surely want to double the recipe since it will likely be halfway gone as soon as it's out of the oven.
Even if you aren't a "carb machine," freshly baked bread is irresistible.
Don't believe me? I think my nephew's face says it all----->