We love homemade crusty Italian bread. The smell of a loaf of bread baking is intoxicating. The whole house smells delicious and none of us can actually wait for it to come out of the oven so we can eat it warm with some butter and a fresh cup of coffee. We enjoy it with a variety of things like pasta, and curries. We love it for sandwiches and making garlic bread with. I am sure you will love it too when you try it.
Ingredients for Italian bread
Crusty Italian bread has very few ingredients. All you put in is, yeast, water, sugar, salt, and bread flour and out comes this delicious crusty Italian bread.
To make the dough, start with 1 and 3/4 cups of warm water (it should be around 110 degrees F). Place the water in a bowl or measuring cup and add 4 and 1/2 teaspoons of yeast to the bowl. Also, add 1 teaspoon of sugar to it. Sugar helps the yeast to bloom. Mix everything well, and let it sit for about 10 mins or until the yeast is bloomed.
Once the yeast has bloomed, we can make the dough. Add 4 and a 1/4 cups of bread flour to a mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the flour and mix well, so that the flour and salt are well combined. Pour in all of the bloomed yeast into the bowl and mix to form a dough.
Sprinkle some flour on to a clean counter and turn the dough on to the counter. Knead the dough using the base of your hands for about 6-7 minutes. The dough will become smooth and you will know it is kneaded enough.
Place the kneaded dough back into the bowl and cover the entire dough with 1 tablespoon of oil. This is to ensure that the dough doesn’t dry up while it’s sitting and rising. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let it sit for about an hour to allow the dough to rise.
Once the dough has risen, turn it over onto a clean counter and punch the dough once or twice to remove the air bubbles. Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll each part into a ball. Bring the “seams” of the dough to the bottom of the ball and roll it into a loaf shape, again ensuring that the seam is at the bottom and tucked under.
Line two baking trays with parchment paper and place each loaf into the middle of one tray. Cover both the loaves with a clean tea towel and let them sit for about 1 hour to allow for a second rise.
Once the loaves have risen, make small slits on the bread and sprinkle some flour on them. This will give the bread an artisanal look. It’s not a necessary step, but it gives it a good look. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the baking trays into the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 25 mins or till you see the crust of the Italian bread brown.
Remove your baked crusty Italian bread from the oven and let it cool on a rack for about 5 mins. Now you are ready to enjoy some fresh homemade crusty bread. Slice and slather some butter on it and enjoy! Try having it with my curry meatballs and I can guarantee you will be in love.
To store the bread, place it in a brown paper bag and then wrap it in a plastic bag to preserve it for a couple of days – that is if it lasts that long. If you don’t manage to consume the bread within two days, it’s best to store it in the fridge, since it doesn’t have any preservatives.
Crusty Italian BreadCourse: SideCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
This crusty Italian bread will become your favorite. The golden crust is crumbly and chewy and the inside soft. It’s perfect for sandwiches, soups, and curries.
1 3/4 cups water – heated to 110 degrees F
4 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
- Add the water to a measuring cup or mixing bowl. Add the yeast and sugar into the bowl and mix well.
- Let the yeast sit for about 10 mins to allow it to bloom.
- Add the flour to a large mixing bowl. Add salt to the flour and mix together so that the salt is evenly distributed.
- Add the bloomed yeast into the flour and mix well to form your dough.
- Turn the dough onto a clean counter space and using the base of your hands, knead the dough for about 6-7 mins. The dough will come together really well and get smooth.
- Place the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover it with the oil – ensure that the oil is spread all over the dough. This is so the dough doesn’t dry up as it rises.
- Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let it sit for about 1 hour to allow the dough to rise.
- Once the dough has risen, turn the dough back onto the clean counter and divide it into two equal pieces.
- Roll the dough into even circles and then form two loaf like shapes. Make sure that the seam of the dough is at the bottom of the loaf.
- Place the loaves on two parchment lined baking trays. Cover with clean tea towels and let them sit for another 1 hour to allow the loaves to rise a second time.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Just before placing the loaves into the oven, put small slits on the bread (don’t go too deep) and sprinkle some flour on the loaves. This is not a necessary step, but it gives the bread an artisanal look.
- Bake in the middle rack for about 25 mins or until the crust is browned.
- Enjoy warm with butter. Try it with my curry meatballs and you will love it.
– Check out other side recipes here.