I can't stop! Ever since I had success with yeast a few months ago, I am dying to try out a new bread recipe every chance I get. This one was for standard Italian bread that I found on All Recipes. I love when a recipe lets you prepare the dough in the breadmaker but then bake it in the oven. To me, its the perfect balance of convenience and homemade. These loaves were easy to make and delicious, and I love the way the center slit makes them look like they came from a bakery! I followed the recommendations on All Recipes and placed the dough directly on the baking sheet to rise rather than transfer it after it had risen. This worked out perfectly and I had nice, puffy loaves to enjoy.
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons cornmeal
Place flour, brown sugar, warm water, salt, olive oil and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form dough into two loaves. Place the loaves seam side down on a cutting board generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise, until doubled in volume about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a small bowl, beat together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the risen loaves with egg mixture. Make a single long, quick cut down the center of the loaves with a sharp knife. Gently shake the cutting board to make sure that the loaves are not sticking. If they stick, use a spatula or pastry knife to loosen. Slide the loaves onto a baking sheet with one quick but careful motion.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.