Oh, if you love a good hard crust and soft middle for a true Italian Bread, then this is the loaf for you. I found this recipe many years ago from Good Eats From Texas. Quick and easy to prepare with simple wholesome ingredients.A touch of herbs and some chopped black or green olives and extra virgin olive oil is basically all you need. Makes one extremely long loaf of bread.
1 1/4 cup hot tap water
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
3 cup organic unbleached bread flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. of your favorite Italian Herbs (Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Garlic)
1/4 cup chopped black or green olives
2 tbsp. organic extra virgin olive oil
Egg Wash (1/4 cup water, 1 egg)
Add hot tap water, yeast and sugar to warm mixing bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Add liquid and mix with dough hook or by hand until well combined. Place dough in warm bowl lightly oiled with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Pour out dough onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough out into a long rectangular shape, pressing out gas pockets. Roll into a long loaf, fold the ends under. Place the dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cut diaganol slits down the loaf. Cover and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Brush with egg wash and bake at 375 for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with Olive Oil mixed with herbs for dipping your bread.