Brining Customers Back With An In-House Italian Bread Recipe

One of the staples of any Italian restaurant is the bread plate. Whether you're looking for something to cube up and serve with dipping oils or you want something for customers to mop up all of those rich flavors of your homemade pasta sauce, high quality bread is essential. Unfortunately, many chefs hesitate to tackle fresh breads because of the intimidation factor of baking compared to cooking. While you can buy your bread from a bread supplier or local bakery, you might be surprised to find out how easy it is to make in-house. If you want bread you can rely on no matter what, here's a recipe that's sure to help put your Italian restaurant on the map.

Gathering Your Ingredients

Any time you're making bread, you want your ingredients gathered before you start mixing. Here's a list of what you'll need:

2 pouches or 2 tablespoons of instant dry yeast

1/2 cup of water warmed to about 110 degrees

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 tablespoons softened, salted butter

2 2/3 cups of water, warmed to 110-115 degrees

1 tablespoon salt

1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten well

7-8 cups all-purpose or bread flour

2 tablespoons melted, salted butter

Making The Bread

Combine the half-cup of warm water with the sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Let it sit for about ten minutes for the yeast to proof. When you see a brown foam forming on the top, that's a sign that the yeast is proofing and active.

Once you see the brown foam on the surface, add the softened butter, remaining warm water, salt, and beaten egg to the bowl. Mix well. Then, gradually sift the flour into the bowl a cup at a time. Continue adding flour until the dough is soft and easy to work. There should be enough flour in the dough so that it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and doesn't stick to your hands.

Sprinkle flour on the countertop and turn the dough out onto the flour. Knead the dough for about ten minutes, folding it over onto itself and pushing it together. The dough will become smooth and elastic. Put the dough into a bowl that's been greased or sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover it with a light towel and place it somewhere warm for about an hour.

Turn your risen down onto the floured counter top. Split it in half and shape it into two elongated loaf shapes. Place them on an oiled or sprayed baking sheet. Slice across the top of each loaf diagonally three or four times using a sharp knife. Bake the bread for about 35 minutes in a 350-degree oven. When they're done, they will sound hollow when you tap the top with your fingers. Brush them with melted butter or garlic butter, then let them cool before slicing them for service.

For more information, talk to businesses like La Piazza Restaurant Ltd.