Friday Snack: Italian Bread

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
6-7 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of water; let stand for 5 min. Dissolve salt in 2 cups of water. Put 5 cups of flour in a large bowl, add liquids; mix well. Add enough remaining flour to make a workable dough. Knead on a lightly floured board for 10 min. or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubles in bulk. Punch dough down and knead again for 5 min. Divide dough into two balls, return to greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Separate pieces of dough and roll each into oblong shape.

Spray baking pan with non-stick spray. Place the two loaves on the pan. Cover and allow to rise until doubled. Brush tops with melted butter.

Bake 50-60 min. or until loaves are golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped.