Friday, April 19, 2024

Italian Sweet Bread


I used to make this recipe a lot back in the day.  For most of my life I've liked to bake some type of yeast bread or quick bread (like biscuits or cornbread) to accompany soups.  For the past couple of years and trying to eat more low carb, I've gotten away from that.  

A couple of weeks ago, though, I was preparing a birthday meal for my daughter -- lasagna and salad, and wanted a homemade bread to accompany it.  I just wasn't in the mood to make focaccia bread, which might be my usual go-to.  But then I remembered this Italian Sweet Bread -- which isn't actually very sweet, as it contains only 1/4 cup of sugar.  I remembered it as being quite easy, and it makes two loaves, which is a definite plus when one is feeding teen grandchildren with hearty appetites!

The only problem was that this recipe uses a bread machine to make the dough, and I no longer own one.  So I decided to tweak it and see if I could make it work with a more traditional method.  Here's what I did, and thankfully it worked.


3/4 cup warm water
1 Tblsp. active dry yeast
1 Tblsp. sugar
2 Tblsp. butter, softened
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Tblsp. sugar
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp. salt
3 cups flour

 In a small bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 Tblsp. sugar.  Stir well and let stand 5 minutes until bubbly.  Stir in the butter.

In a large bowl, beat the egg.  Stir in the 3 Tblsp. sugar, the cream, and salt.  When well blended stir in the yeast mixture.  Stir well and then add the flour.  You may need a little more flour to make it less sticky.  Turn dough out on a floured surface.  Let rest while you clean the bowl and grease it. Knead the dough a few times and form into a ball.  Place in the greased bowl, turning to grease the top of the dough ball, then cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Then punch down the dough and return to the floured surface.  Cut the ball of dough in half and shape each half into a ball.  Flatten slightly and place each half into a greased 8-inch or 9-inch round pan.  Cover pans with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  

Recipe calls for brushing an egg wash (1 beaten egg/1 Tblsp. water) on top of the loaves before sprinkling on some Italian seasoning and baking.  I didn't want to go to that trouble, so I brushed on some cream instead.   Then I sprinkled lightly with Italian seasoning.

Bake the loaves at 350º for 20-25 minutes or until loaves are golden brown.  Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.  Makes 2 loaves, 3/4 pound each.  Photo shows the loaf cut in slices, but we chose to cut ours in wedges.  

This bread went over big at the birthday dinner!

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