Total Calories: 54
1 Pour the water into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast. Let stand until the yeast is creamy, about 2 minutes. Stir until the yeast dissolves.
2 Add the butter and 2 cups flour, the sugar, and the salt and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the herbs and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to make a moist but not sticky dough. (Or make the dough in a heavy-duty mixer, food processor, or bread machine following the manufacturer's directions.)
3 Oil the inside of a large bowl. Put the dough in the bowl, turning it once to oil the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4 Oil a large baking sheet. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and flatten it with your hands to eliminate the air bubbles. Roll the dough between your hands to form a rope about 12 inches long. Lay the dough on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
5 Place the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush the dough with the egg yolk mixture. With a razor or very sharp knife, cut 4 slashes across the top. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 30 minutes.
6 Slide the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in foil and store at room temperature up to 24 hours, or freeze up to 1 month.
From "1,000 Italian Recipes." Copyright 2004 by Michele Scicolone. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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