Crusty Italian Bread

Sometimes you just want bread.  This is the prefect loaf for that time.  This bread is easy to make and delicious.  Just give it some time and treat it right!  Eat it by itself, cover it with butter, dip it in oil, spread on some goat cheese, make a sandwich or dip it in tomato sauce. Anyway you go you will be satisfied.   

Crusty Italian Bread

Time: Prep 10 Minutes, Resting 1.5 Hour+, Cooking 45 Minutes

Yield: 1 Large or 2 Small Loaves

Ingredients

  • 1 package instant dry yeast (1/4 oz, 7grams)
  • 6 1/4 Cups (800grams) All Purpose Flour 
  • 2 (10 grams) Teaspoons Salt
  • 3 Cups (16oz, 500ml) Water, warm*
  • Additional Flour Needed For Kneading & Dusting

Procedure

  1. In a large bowl combine Yeast, Flour and Salt.  Stir to combine.
  2. Add warm water* to the bowl mixing with a spatula to combine well. Expect a very soft, sticky dough to form.  This is normal! You will want to cover the dough and put it in a warm place to rise.
  3. Every 15 minutes you will go and fold the dough over on its self.  Using a spatula much under the dough and then fold it over on top of its self in half, and then repeat the folding motion one more time.  Cover and wait 15 more minutes and then repeat for a total of 4 times.  After the final fold, wait 30 minutes and check to see if the dough has doubled in size.  
  4. Once the dough has doubled its time preheat the over to 450°F/232°C.  Place a baking dish with about 2 inches of hot water in to the bottom rack of your oven, this is what helps to make a crispy crust.  Get your flat cookie sheet ready to place the bread on top of.
  5. Now time to shape.  You want to flour the surface well and your hands.  Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the surface.  DO NOT KNEAD OR HANDLE MORE THAN NEEDED!  Gently fold the dough on to itself forming into a ball.  Or divide in half and then form into 2 balls.  Using a sharp knife or blade cut an X on the top or your desired pattern. Gently transfer to the sheet pan and then into the oven.
  6. Bake break for 45 minutes or until a golden brown crust forms and bread is fully cooked.

Tips:

  • Water should be between 105-110°F or 40-43°C.  If the water is any hotter you run the risk of killing the yeast and it will not rise.  And you will be sad. 
  • Storage:  It is very important to allow the bread to cool COMPLETELY!!  If you don’t and try to store the bread you will use the crispy crust we just worked so hard to create.  Once it is cooled, please it in a plastic bag or wrap in plastic and wrap tightly. 
  • DO NOT FREEZE
  • This bread needs to be eaten within a few days.

Recommended Kitchen Tools

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