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Italian Bread Using a Bread Machine
March 22, 2010

OMG! This bread is sooo good it disappeared right off the table in no time. I tweaked it a bit after reading some reviews. I used my bread machine to make the dough and my oven to bake it. First, I put in warm water and yeast and let it stand for 10 min. This activates the yeast. Then I added all the ingrediants, making sure to add the salt last (on top). I used half All-Purpose flour and half Bread flour. I also reduced the salt to a rounded tsp. I set my bread machine for the rapid french coarse. This worked better than the dough setting which only allows one rise. I set a timer to remind me to take it out before the machine started baking. This gave the dough more needing and rising cycles. As many have suggested, I divided and shaped the dough and let it rise on the baking stone or pan (because transfering your dough can possibly make it flatten) which I covered with parchment paper and a sprinkling of cornmeal. You know the dough is ready to bake when it is soft and leaves an indentation when gently poked. If the indentation fills back in let it rise some more. Rise range 40-60min. I applied the egg solution using a paper towel softly brushing the dough. I think this is better than using a stiff brush because the dough can easily flatten. I pre-heated my oven to 400 and when I was ready to put in the bread I turned it down to 375. I didn't use the water or ice cube at the bottom of the oven as some have suggested (I forgot). But my crust came out crispy, flaky, perfect!

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