DIY Italian Bread
yeast, active dry
In large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeast, and 2 cups flour.
In 1-quart saucepan over low heat, heat butter or margarine and 1 ¾ cups water until very warm (120 to 130 degrees F.)
Butter or margarine does not need to melt.
With mixer at low speed, gradually beat liquid into dry ingredients until just blended. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.
Beat in ½ cup flour to make thick batter; continue beating mixture at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl often with rubber spatula.
With wooden spoon, stir in enough additional flour (about 1 ¾ cups) to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour while kneading.
Cut dough in half; cover pieces with bowl; let dough rest for 20 minutes for easier shaping.
Grease large cookie sheet; sprinkle cookie sheet with cornmeal.
On floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll each half into 15 x 10 inch rectangle.
From 15 inch side, tightly roll dough, jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam to seal.
Place loaves, seam side down, on cookie sheet and taper ends.
Brush loaves with oil; cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Meanwhile, remove loaves from refrigerator; uncover; let stand 10 minutes.
Cut 3 or 4 diagonal slashes on top of each loaf.
Bake 20 minutes.
In small bowl with fork, beat egg white with 1 tablespoon of water.
Remove loaves from oven; brush with egg-white mixture; return to oven and bake 5 minutes.