In my opinion, a pasta sauce is only as good as the bread used to dip in it. And, while the grocery store often has some really great bread in the bakery, I really love spending my morning making fresh bread loaves. It’s so relaxing to knead the dough, and there is nothing quite like the smell that takes over your house while it’s baking.
I actually just recently started making breads, so I won’t claim to be an expert. However, I do have a fool proof recipe that even beginners can complete pretty easily. It creates long loaves of bread, and it is super gooey, with a really great crust. Add a little butter, dip it in some sauce, or even eat it plain. It’s delicious… I promise!
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
In a large bowl, mix the water and yeast until it becomes foamy. Then add the honey, oil, and salt. Mix well. Finally, add your flour. It should become a very thick batter. Pour it out onto a floured surface and knead the dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour until it no longer sticks to your hands or surfaces. Knead for about 8-10 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl. Swirl the dough around to coat it in the oil. Place plastic wrap or a damp cloth over the bowl to prevent any stale crusts that might form on your dough.
Allow the dough to rise for an hour.
Pull out the dough, and cut it into two pieces. Form the pieces into long, baguette shaped pieces. Place on a cookie sheet, and allow it to rise for another 45 minutes. Then, using a serrated knife, cut diagonal slices into bread, about 1/4 inch deep. Bake at 400 degree for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. For a crispier crust, brush an egg wash over the tops of the loaves.