Italian Bread Recipe
This is a basic Italian bread. It has 4 simple ingredients. It's beautiful in its simplicity, tastes amazing, and it’s a very rustic bread so you can shape the loaf any way you like. These reasons make it a great bread recipe to start with.
I realize bread baking is perceived to be an enormous amount of work, but in reality, there is only about 30 to 45 minutes when you are actually engaged. The rest of the time is in the rising and proofing stages.
One hour out of your day, some time, and heat and you will be rewarded with the best bread you have eaten in a very long time, I promise. Maybe you will like it so much that you end up developing a life long passion for homemade bread. That is my hope for you.
Simple Italian Bread Recipe
- 500 grams / 18 ounces flour typo 00, substitute all-purpose flour
- 350 milliliters / 12 ounces water
- 10 grams / 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 7 grams / 1 packet instant yeast, 1 envelope
- Add the flour, salt and yeast to a large mixing bowl, and whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Add the water to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to just combine and moisten the flour. Cover and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. This step, allows the flour to properly hydrate before you begin kneading.
- On a lightly floured work surface, begin kneading the dough. Push the dough down with your palms, pulling and stretching, then fold it over on itself and continue the process for about 7 to 9 minutes.
- When you finish, form the dough into a ball, or boule, and place the dough in a large mixing bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until it is doubled in volume, usually 1 to 2 hours.
- Once it's risen take it out and fold it over on itself bringing the corners into the center until you form another ball. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet to prevent sticking. Allow the dough to proof until it almost doubles in volume.
- Once it has proofed mist the dough with a little water and put it into a preheated 450 degree oven. Toss about a 1/4 cup of water onto the oven floor to generate steam, and reduce the heat 375. Bake until the bread registers 200 degrees on a probe thermometer.
- Alternatively, bake until it is firm to the touch and golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the bread, turn it over, and tap on the bottom center. You should hear a hollow sound when it is done.
- Remove the bread and place it on a wire rack. Let it cool for about an hour.
- I really want to stress that you should try and wait for it to cool before cutting into it. Bread continues to evaporate moisture for another hour or so after it is removed from the oven. If you cut into it immediately it won't finish properly.
- If you prefer you can substitute half of the flour with whole wheat flour. So that would be 250 grams of all-purpose flour and 250 grams of whole wheat flour.
- If you choose to substitute some of the flour with whole wheat flour, I suppose, it's not technically an Italian bread recipe anymore. Be that as it may, it's still damn good!