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Italian Bread

My family laughs at me when I tell them that this poor dough never has a change for an hour, but it makes up for all that punching down with its texture and good taste. My mother-in-law taught me how to make this bread...now the recipe's been passed down to my daughter and two granddaughters.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 40 min.
  • Makes
    2 loaves (16 slices each)

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 3 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 to 10 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions

  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add the sugar, shortening, salt, egg, remaining water and 4 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each portion into a loaf. Place seam side down on greased baking sheets.
  • With a sharp knife, make four shallow diagonal slashes across the top of each loaf. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Bake at 350° for 37-42 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Brush with butter.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 135 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 8mg cholesterol, 227mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.
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