Italian White Bread

A soft white bread with the aromatic scent and goodness of Italian herbs
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Italian White Bread

This my favourite bread recipe that I’ve baked so much. Get imaginative with the herbs and add whichever u like. With this same formula you can bake Rosemary Bread, Oregano Bread, Thyme Bread, Spiced Mexican Bread, whatever your imagination takes you.

If you’re using a bread machine, just add the ingredients to the machine in the sequence listed and let the machine do the magic.

Makes a 1lb loaf. Preparation time depends on individual bread machine. On my Zojirushi breadmaker, its 180 minutesIf you’re baking by hand, it will take about 210 minutes.

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Cook Time 210 mins Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 4 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year

Ingredients

Instructions

Method (machine kneading for intermediate bakers and hand kneading for the challengers)

    1. Warm half the water until it is just warm to touch with your fingers. Dissolve the sugar in the water. Add in the yeast and stir until the yeast dissolves in the water and set aside in a warm place.
    2. When the yeast mixture is foamy, it is ready to be used. Pour the flour on a flat surface and make a well in the center (like a volcano). Pour the foamy yeast in the center and add in the salt.
    3. Knead the dough by folding the flour inwards towards the center and knead the dough gently until a rough dough forms. For tutorial on how to knead dough, please refer to the Basics 101 section.
    4. Gradually add in the remainder water and continue kneading the dough until the dough has absorbed the water. The dough will be sticky at this point. Add in the oil and herbs. Continue kneading the dough until a smooth dough forms (about 20 minutes).
    5. Roll the dough into a ball and place in a oiled mixing bowl. Cover loosely with glad wrap or heavy dish cloth and place in a warm place to let the dough rise.
    6. When the dough has doubled in size (about 45 minutes to 1 hour), apply some oil on your hands and punch the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface and knead the dough until the dough is smooth.
    7. Roll the dough into a ball and transfer back into the mixing bowl to rest for another 30 minutes.
    8. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and transfer to the surface and knead until the dough is smooth and soft, and can stretch thinly without tearing. If the dough is not ready, repeat step 7.
    9. If you’re not using a non-stick bread tin, lightly oil the sides of the bread tin with butter. Shape the dough into an oblong shape and put into a bread tin.
    10. Let the dough rest in the tin for 30 minutes.
    11. Pre-heat oven to 190C or 375F.
    12. Bake the loaf at the bottom rack of the oven at 180C for 20-30 minutes or until the top has a even tan (like the color of MacDonald’s burger buns). It depends on your oven really. After a few bakes, you’ll get to know your oven better and can adjust the timing accordingly.
    13. Remove the bread from the bread pan WHILE IT IS STILL HOT. Do not leave the bread to cool in the pan or water will condense at the bottom and make the bread soggy. If you like your bread to have a soft crust at the top, brush the top with milk.
    14. If you prefer to eat hot, crispy bread, you can eat the bread now. Otherwise, cool the bread on a cooling rack and slice the bread when cool.
  1. Bread Machine

    If you’re using a bread machine, just add the ingredients to the machine in the sequence listed and let the machine do the magic.

Note

  1. You can replace white sugar with honey but do not use raw or brown sugar as the the yeast is not able to metabolise raw and brown sugar.
  2. I use extra virgin olive oil. You can also use sunflower oil or corn oil for a neutral tasting white bread. The oil you use will impart its taste to the bread so avoid heavy tasting oils unless you want that taste in the bread. Check out my other bread recipes for more ideas.
  3. If you have a kitchen mixer with the dough hook, you can replace steps 2-4 with the bread machine and let the dough rise in the machines mixing bowl covered. Personally I love kneading my dough with hands as it is good exercise for shapely arms but it can be challenging for the inexperienced baker, so I don’t recommend it until you have build up certain confidence in baking bread 🙂
Keywords: bread, italian, herb, aroma
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