I am seriously thinking of making some dipping oil to use with the bread. Here is the recipe which I used to make the bread. If nothing else, it should go well with this evening's meal of spaghetti and meat balls.
2 3/4 cups water
5 teaspoons or 2 packets of active dry yeast
7 cups (2 pounds, 2 1/2 ounces) of bread flour (You can substitute all purpose flour; reduce water to 2 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon of salt
1/4 cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
Sprinkle the yeast over slightly warm (95 degree) water in a small bowl or measuring cup. Briefly stir it lightly followed by letting the mixture sit for approximately 10 minutes.
Measure out your flour and place it in a bowl of a kitchen mixer with a dough hook attached. If making by hand, place the flour in a large mixing bowl.
Turn on the mixer, add salt to the flour, and allow the dough to mix well. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the flour as the mixer is running. If making the bread dough by hand use a whisk.
Slowly drizzle in the yeast and water mixture, allowing the dough to knead by the machine for four minutes.
If making the dough by hand, combine the flour with the yeast and water mixture using a wooden spoon, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes.
After kneading, you should have a smooth, springy like dough that bounces back lightly when pressed with your finger.
Cover the dough while in the bowl with a piece of waxed paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray with a kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
Knead the risen dough by hand on a floured surface for about a minute to remove air. Form the dough into 2 equal-size balls, and place on a 15-inch baking sheet.
Cover the loaves again with waxed paper and a kitchen towel, and let rise a second time for 20-25 minutes or until doubled. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake the loaves for 23-25 minutes or until browned. Bake 5 minutes longer for a crisper crust.