Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Now That's Italian

I am not sure if the low carb craze is over yet, like other fad diets that have come and gone, but I could never follow that type of diet because I LOVE bread. Love of bread runs in my family. My grandmother loved bread, my mom loves bread, and my sister is the queen of bread loving. At family dinners, she will always be found in the kitchen waiting for the homemade rolls to come out of the oven. It is definitely a genetic weakness. My love affair with bread is one of the main reasons I like to eat at Italian restaurants. Macaroni Grill has my favorite Italian bread. It has a variety of herbs baked in the bread and tastes wonderful dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I found this recipe online one day when searching for breads and thought it might taste similar to the bread at Macaroni Grill. It called for only a small amount of whole wheat flour. I changed that and added olive oil instead of shortening. This bread is a hit with my family.

Italian Herb Bread

3 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
4 tablespoons sugar
7 1/2 cups hard white wheat flour
1 cup high gluten bread flour
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon dough enhancer
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 tsp dried basil
2 1/2 tsp dried dill
2 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2/3 cup snipped fresh parsley

Dissolve yeast and one tablespoon of the sugar in warm water in large bowl or bread mixer. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and knead for 7 minutes. Let rise for 1 hour. Punch down and divide into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 10 x 8 inch rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal. Whisk an egg white and 1 tablespoon water; brush over loaves. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. This bread works great to freeze the loaves before allowing them to rise. Just take out several hours before baking to thaw and rise and you can have warm homemade bread with your pasta.

I love this bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
It also makes great sandwich bread.

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