Homemade Herb Crusted Italian Bread

Serves 1 loaf     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups bread flour (plus 1/2 - 1 cup - see directions)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for the top)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dry Italian Herbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the yeast, sugar and 1 cup of warm water. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, add two cups of bread flour, the olive oil and salt and beat 1 minutes, at a low speed, using your dough hook attachment.
Gradually add in more flour up to 1 cup until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and pulls together and looks soft and smooth. Be careful not too add too much flour or the dough will become rough and not the consistency you want. You also don't want it sticky and wet. Soft and smooth is perfect.
Increase the speed of your mixer to medium, and continue to beat for 5 minutes.
Take a warm towel, or plastic wrap and cover the mixing bowl. Allow to stand in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Keep free from drafts. After 30 minutes with dough doubled, punch the dough down, and let stand 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, shape dough to fit into your lightly greased loaf pan. Cut 1 long (1/4-inch deep) slit across the top of dough with a sharp paring knife. Don't forget this step, as it releases steam during the baking process and will make a difference in how the final product is presented. (in other words, it won't blow up)
In a small bowl, combine Italian Herbs with garlic powder.
Brush the top of the bread dough with more olive oil and top with dry Italian Herbs. Pressing them into the dough a little.
Bake in a preheated 475 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Turn out on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before wrapping for storage or serve warm.

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