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July 8, 2008

Italian Basil Loaf

4 1/2 - 5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp sweet basil
2 Tbsp sugar
1 envelope rapid rise yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large egg
all purpose flour for dusting

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, cheese, basil, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt. Heat water and olive oil until very warm (120° to 130° F). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 - 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough in half; shape each half into a round loaf. Cut an "X" about 1/4-inch deep in center of each loaf. Place on greased baking sheets; lightly dust loaves with flour. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 375° F for 20-25 minutes or until done. Remove from sheets; coon on wire rack.

Makes 2 loaves.