Italian Herb Bread

Makes 1 14-16 inch loaf or two 10 inch loaves

1 cup hot water or milk
2 TB olive oil or butter
3 cups flour
1 package dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp [each] : marjoram, thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil
1/4 tsp black pepper *optional*

1. Mix yeast, warm water, and white sugar together in a large bowl. Set aside for five minutes, or until mixture becomes foamy.

2. Stir olive oil, salt, herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, cheese, and 1.5 cups flour into the yeast mixture. Gradually mix in the remainder of flour. Dough will be stiff.

3. Knead dough for 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and rubbery[ adding a bit more flour if necessary]. Place in an oiled bowl, and turn to cover the surface of the dough with oil. Cover with a damp linen dish towel. Allow to rise for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

4. Punch dough down to release all the air.  Place in a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, or make free form loaf/loaves and place them on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about a 30 minutes.

5. If using loaf pan: bake at 335 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45-52 minutes. Remove loaf from pan,
[brush with 2 TB melted butter and a sprinkling of garlic powder and parmesan cheese, if desired] and let cool on wire racks for at least 15 minutes before slicing. *the thicker, in pan, loaf needs to cook at a lower temp to be sure middle cooks all the way through without top over browning.*

*If making free form on greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet: bake at 375 degrees for about 18-22 minutes. [until lightly golden and knife inserted into thickest part comes out mostly clean.]*
**For two medium sized free form loaves bake at 375 degree for 12-15 minutes.

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