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Rustic Italian Bread

5 from 5 reviews

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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Note: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  2. There are 2 techniques that I will call out below that deal with where you add the sugar. There is one way where you add the sugar to the yeast and another where you add the sugar to the flour. I have used both ways and they both work for me.

Technique 1

  1. In a bowl, add 1 cup of warm water and dry active yeast and let it stand until creamy (about 5 minutes).
  2. In another bowl add flour, salt, and sugar. After 8 minutes take the yeast and give it a mix then add it to the flour mixture, mixing it in with a fork until sticky, add the additional cup of water a little at a time and continue to form it into a ball. Note: You may not need all of the water. Just make sure the dough is a tad bit moist. Add a little bit of flour at a time to get it to a less sticky consistency. Continue on with the steps 1-11 below.

Technique 2

  1. In a liquid measuring cup add 1/4 cup of lukewarm water, add the yeast and 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar. Check back in 10 minutes to make sure it has bubbled and foamed up. If it has then add lukewarm water up to the 2 cup mark of the measuring cup. Note: If it didn’t then you need to try another packet / jar of yeast.
  2. In a bowl blend the flour and salt, mix well. Next pour the water 1/2 cup at a time into the flour mix using your fork to blend. Continue to add as much of the water/yeast mixture that you need. Please note you may not need all of the water. You want the dough to be just a tad bit moist. Flour your hands and begin to form the round ball. Continue on with the steps 1-11 below.

Continue with Steps 1-11 below

  1. Next, sprinkle with a bit more flour and work it with your hands to make a ball. It’s not necessarily kneading per say. You are just rolling and tucking in gently to get a smooth ball
  2. Take the dough and gently mold it into a smooth but firm ball with an elastic feel.
  3. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise. This could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. It all depends on the temperature in the house and the humidity. Since I am in Houston, Texas this takes me about 45 minutes.
  4. Once it rises take a little more flour, pat it down and roll it into a ball again.
  5. {OPTIONAL} Put the dough back into the bowl and let it rise 1 more time. When you let the bread rise twice it really makes for a better bread but if you are short on time then don’t worry about it.
  6. After you are done with all the rising, you will take the dough and put it on the parchment paper that is on a baking tray. The dough should be elongated and oval-shaped, with tapered and rounded (not pointed) ends.
  7. Take about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and coat the dough with it. This will make it nice and crunchy on the outside.
  8. After you rub it down with olive oil you can sprinkle a bit of sea salt or sesame seeds on top.
  9. Next, score the top of the dough with a sharp knife at a 45 degree angle. See image below in my post.
  10. Bake 30 minutes, until you hear a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.
  11. Allow the bread to cool slightly before serving, and enjoy!