Italian Bread

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This recipe comes close to the Italian bread my grandmother used to make. Recipe from Cathy Crimi

1 package active dry yeast

¼ cup warm water

1 ¾ cup warm water

1 tsp. salt

5 to 5 ½ cups sifted flour

Lightly grease 15 ½ by 12 inch baking sheet. Soften yeast into ¼ cup warm water. Let yeast stand 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put into a large bowl 1 ¾ cup water and 1 tsp. salt. Blend in 3 cups sifted flour. Stir softened yeast, and add to flour-water mixture. Mix well. Measure 2 to 2 ½ cups sifted flour. Add about half of it to yeast mixture and beat until very smooth. Mix in enough of remaining fourt to make a soft dough. Turn mixture onto lightly floured surface. Allow to rest 5 to 10 minutes. Select a deep bowl large enough for dough to double in size. Greese bowl, shape dough into ball and place into bowl. Cover with waxed paper and towel and let rise until dough is double in size (about 1 ½ to 2 hours). Punch down with fist. Knead on lightly floured surface, about 2 minutes make into 2 equal size balls. Let stand covered about 10 minutes. Roll each ball of dough into 14 x 8 inch rectangle. Roll up tightly into a long slender loaf. Pinch ends to seal. Place loaves o prepared baking sheet and loosely cover with towel and set in a warm place until doubled. Bake in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 1 hour or until golden brown.

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