Crusty Italian Bread

This makes beautiful, crusty bread with a crisp crust and a warm, soft interior. It’s as good as anything you’ll ever get from any bakery.

Give it a try and you’ll never go back to buying bread.

710g (710ml) Bottled Water, room temperature
5g Sugar
4g Instant Yeast
1,000g Unbleached, unenriched bread flour. I use New Hope Mills.
25 g Kosher Salt
Corn Meal
Scale, Thermometer,
Dough Mixer, Pizza Steel or Stone, 4 Quart Plastic Bucket w/Lid
Crusty Loaf of amazing, home-made Italian Bread

Crusty Loaf of amazing, home-made Italian Bread

  • Preheat oven and steel or stone to 425°F
  • Add the the water, sugar & yeast to the dough mixer bowl and whisk (by hand) until dissolved. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Put the dough hook on the mixer, add about half the flour and start the mixer on slow.
  • Once the ingredients have been mixed, add the salt. You need to add the salt after the yeast/water has been mixed into the dough, since the salt retards the action of the yeast.
  • Increase speed to medium
  • Add the rest of the flour now.
  • Keep kneading for another 5 minutes then transfer to 4 Quart plastic bucket with a snap-on lid, and let rise in a cool place (about 50°–60°) for 12 hours, or until doubled in size.
  • When doubled, reach into the bucket, grab one side of the dough, give it a quick pull until it’s about 3x the length it was, and fold it over. Rotate 90° and repeat until you have done this 4 times.
  • Let rise again until double.
  • Generously flour a cutting board and dump all the dough from the bucket onto the board. Cut dough into two pieces, form each piece into a loaf shape and place on a pizza peel dusted with corn meal for the final rise.
  • Slide each loaf onto a pizza steel or stone, and make some slashes across the top with a very sharp knife, lame or razor blade. The slashes allow the bread to expand in the oven.
  • If your oven has a depression in the bottom for water, pour about 2 cups of hot water into it now. If not, add 2 cups of hot water to small pan and place on the bottom of your oven.

Note about bottled water: The chlorine in tap water can kill yeast. Since this recipe uses a very small amount of yeast, we can’t afford to kill any of it. Using chlorinated tap water will result in inconsistent results and great frustration, so use bottled.

It doesn’t need to be imported, just non-chlorinated, non-carbonated and not highly mineralized.

Makes (2) large loaves of bread