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Sometimes I think to myself "You know what would go great with this? Bread!" And not the sliced stuff in a bag but warm, fresh bread with a crisp, brown crust. I don't want to make a sandwich, I want to grab a chunk of bread and dip it into whatever I have in front of me. So what do I do? The next time I'm out, I decide to grab one of those Pillsbury® Country Italian Bread tubes and throw it in the fridge for the next time I want bread. Without fail, the urge hits me sometime later and I grab the tube. Meh - expired...so I toss it. Great, no bread again.

One night I refused to go out just to buy some bread but at the same time, I really wanted it with dinner. It was too late to start up the bread maker so I started searching for a quick and easy recipe for a loaf of bread. I found one and now I just buy yeast instead of one of those tubes.


4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
2 envelopes Fleischmann's© RapidRise Yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1-3/4 cups very warm water (120° to 130°F)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cornmeal
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water

**I use a large KitchenAid mixer. I'm not sure how well the recipe would turn out if you tried it with one of those smaller, hand-held mixers.

Combine 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add water and oil; beat 2 minutes with an electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. I usually use all of it. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic for 8 to 10 minutes. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.


Divide dough in half; roll and form into two small loaves. Place, seam sides down, on greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Do not place them right next to each other. They will get larger so take that into consideration.  Cover with parchment paper or wax paper; let rise in warm, draft-free place.  I normally set the oven to 170°F and once it reaches that, I turn the oven off and throw the bread in. Wait until bread has doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

 
Brush surface with egg white mixture then with sharp knife, make 4 or 5 diagonal cuts (1/4 deep), on top-of each loaf. Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. For crisper crusts, brush 2 more times with egg white mixture after 10 and 15 minutes of baking time. Remove from sheet; cool on wire rack.