Italian Bread

This is a relatively quick bread to make – only taking about 3 hours total. It makes a massive loaf so you can divide the dough in half and make 2 smaller loaves if desired. When making the bread, you’ll find you need to add different amounts of flour depending on when you make this bread and the moisture level in the air. On a dry winter day, I needed 5 1/2 cups of flour to get to the right consistency.

Adding ice cubes just prior to baking helps create steam in the oven which gives a nice crust. Make sure that you only use a metal pan in the oven to hold the ice cubes. If you use a glass pan, it WILL shatter; the temperature change is too much for the glass to handle from the hot oven to the cold ice cubes.
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Regardless of whether you call it stuffing or filling, this is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. Baking it in a pan by itself means it can be made vegetarian-friendly and everything will cook more evenly.

If you are short on time, skip the step of drying the bread out. It helps to keep the stuffing from getting soggy, but it will taste just fine without this step.
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