Tuesday night I had our besties over for an impromptu Italian Dinner Party! I served Homemade Ravioli two ways. The first was Ricotta and sausage filled with a red vodka sauce infused with sun dried tomatoes. The second, was a pesto, Ricotta, and Pecorino filling with a white wine butter sauce. We had the food, which all turned out super yummy, great conversation, and fun! I hadn’t yet made my grandma’s braided Italian loaves since we moved into our new house here in Orange County so I decided it was high time with almost 5 months that had past! The house smelled like I had died and gone to heaven, this batch turned out more moist than ever before! It was a happy night.
Grandma’s Italian Bread
2.5 lbs all purpose flour (1/2 the 5lb bag)
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 stick butter melted
2 packages or 2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
4 cups warm water
3 Tablespoons honey
Either by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment add together yeast, warm water, and honey. Allow to sit and get foamy-almost 5 minutes. Add in oil and melted butter. Next, combine in other ingredients remembering to add the 4 cups of flour one cup at a time. Add more water if dough is too stiff. Or, a little more flour if too sticky and soft. Oil bowl and allow to rise at least one hour. Cover dough with Saran Wrap or clean kitchen towel during this time. Punch dough down. Make three ropes and shape into braids. Set on oiled cookie sheet and let rise again for 30 min. Bake 350* about 35 minutes. Optional: brush with butter after baking.