Crusty Italian Bread Recipe

Posted on

Crusty Italian Bread Recip



Prep time

Cooking time

Total time


Crusty Italian bread, with its tantalizing aroma and satisfying crunch, is a staple in many kitchens around the world. This type of bread, known for its golden, crackly crust and soft, airy interior, is the perfect accompaniment to any meal, from soups and stews to salads and pasta dishes. Below is a simple yet classic recipe for making your own crusty Italian bread at home. This recipe will guide you through the process, from mixing the dough to baking the bread, ensuring you get that authentic Italian bakery flavor right in your kitchen.


4 cups of bread flour (additional for dusting)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 packet (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) of instant yeast
1 and 1/2 cups of warm water (around 110°F or 45°C)
Cornmeal for dusting
Olive oil for the bowl


Prepare the Yeast Mixture:

In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes frothy. This step activates the yeast and ensures your bread will rise properly.

Mix the Dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Knead the Dough:

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. This step develops the gluten in the flour, giving the bread its structure and chewy texture.

First Rise:

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough inside. Turn it around so that it’s coated with oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.

Shape the Loaf:

Once the dough has doubled, punch it down to release any air bubbles. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a loaf. You can shape it into a round boule or a longer, traditional loaf shape, depending on your preference.

Second Rise:

Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and place the shaped loaf on it. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise again for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, until it puffs up slightly.

Preheat the Oven:

While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Place a metal baking pan on the bottom rack of the oven. This will be used to create steam, which helps achieve a crispy crust.

Bake the Bread:

Right before baking, make several deep slashes across the top of the loaf with a sharp knife or razor blade. This allows the bread to expand freely while baking. Carefully pour 1 cup of hot water into the metal baking pan to create steam. Place the bread into the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool and Serve:

Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. This waiting period allows the bread’s interior to set and makes slicing easier.

    Tips for Success:

    Water Temperature: Make sure the water is warm, not hot, to activate the yeast without killing it.

    Kneading: Proper kneading is crucial for developing the gluten. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour, but be careful not to add too much, as it can make the bread dense.

    Steam: Adding steam to the oven helps create a crispy crust. Be careful when pouring hot water into the pan and when opening the oven, as the steam is very hot.

    This crusty Italian bread recipe is simple, satisfying, and versatile. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced baker, this recipe will guide you to creating a delicious loaf that’s perfect for any occasion. Enjoy it fresh out of the oven, dipped in olive oil, or as the base for your favorite sandwich. Buon appetito!

    Variations and Serving Suggestions:

    The beauty of making your own crusty Italian bread lies in its versatility. Here are some variations and serving suggestions to elevate your homemade bread:


    Herbed Bread: Mix in 1 tablespoon of dried Italian herbs (such as rosemary, oregano, and thyme) into the dough before the first rise for an aromatic twist.

    Whole Wheat: For a healthier option, substitute half of the bread flour with whole wheat flour. This will give the bread a nuttier flavor and denser texture.

    Garlic and Cheese Bread: Add minced garlic and grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese into the dough for a savory treat. You can also sprinkle extra cheese on top before baking.

    Olive Bread: Fold chopped olives into the dough after the first rise for a Mediterranean flair.

    Serving Suggestions:

    As an Appetizer: Serve slices of crusty Italian bread with a selection of cheeses, cured meats, and olives for an easy and elegant appetizer.

    With Soup or Stew: There’s nothing better than dunking a piece of this bread into a hearty soup or stew. The bread soaks up the flavors beautifully.

    For Sandwiches: Use thick slices of this bread to make gourmet sandwiches. The sturdy crust and soft interior make it an ideal base for both cold and hot fillings.

    Bruschetta: Toast slices of bread and top them with a mixture of chopped tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar for a classic Italian starter.

    Dipping: Simply tearing off pieces of this bread and dipping them into olive oil seasoned with salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar can be a delightfully simple treat.

    Storing and Reheating:

    Crusty Italian bread is best enjoyed the day it is baked, but it can be stored for later use. Wrap the cooled bread in a clean cloth and then in a plastic bag, and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, freeze the bread wrapped in foil and a plastic bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, and reheat in a 350°F (175°C) oven for about 10 minutes to refresh the crust.

    Baking bread at home can be a deeply satisfying experience, and this crusty Italian bread recipe is a great way to dive into the world of bread baking. The process of mixing, kneading, and baking bread is not just about following a recipe; it’s about engaging with the ingredients and techniques to create something truly special. Whether you stick to the basic recipe or experiment with variations, the result is sure to bring a touch of Italian warmth to your table.

    Enjoy the process and the delicious outcomes!


    Beginner-friendly recipes / Beverages / Coffee Recipes / Crusty Italian Bread Recipe / Easy Recipes / foods / Quick recipes / recipe / Recipe collections / Tea recipes

    You might also like these recipes