Fresh Baked Italian Bread

What better to go with a hearty Italian dish like risotto, than a big crusty loaf of homemade Italian bread!


I have made simple white breads in the past and had also tried my hand at a honey wheat bread, but this was my first attempt at a rustic-style bread. Many thanks to my friend Amber for finding this recipe for me.

Be forewarned that this recipe takes literally all day to make, but the waiting and effort is well worth it! This bread produced an amazingly thick and crunchy crust with a warm, soft and chewy interior – the perfect Italian bread. Served with warmed butter, I could eat an entire loaf myself!


Italian Bread

(Source: The Fresh Loaf)

Makes 2 large 2-pound loaves.

Preferment:
1 cup water
1 cup bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough:
All of the preferment
5 cups bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon malt syrup, malt powder, brown sugar, or sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water

Preparation:
To start the preferment, mix together the flour, water, and yeast in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature for at least 4 hours and as long as 16 hours.

To make the dough, mix together the preferment, water, olive oil, yeast, salt, malt powder, and dry milk in a bowl with 2 more cups of flour. Mix thoroughly. Mix or knead in in the rest of the flour a half a cup at a time until you have a slack dough but one that is no longer sticky. Total mixing time should be in the ballpark of 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the dough in a well-greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature until at least 2 times in size, approximately 2 hours. Punch the dough down and let it rise again for half an hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in half. Shape the dough into a ball or log, cover with a damp towel, and allow it to relax for another 20 minutes.

Shape the dough into its final shape. Cover again and allow to rise for another hour until doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven and baking stone, if you are using one, to 425 degrees.

Right before placing the loaves in the oven brush or spray them lightly with water. Place them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes before rotating them. Bake them another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the loaf reads 200 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least a half an hour before serving.

Italian Bread

Servings 24 servings (2 large 2-pound loaves)
Prep 40 minutes
Cook 50 minutes
Resting time 7 hours 20 minutes
Total 1 hour 30 minutes
Course:Bread
Cuisine:Italian
Author: Michelle

There's nothing better than some homemade bread!

Ingredients:

Preferment:

  • 1
    cup
    water
  • 1
    cup
    bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2
    teaspoon
    instant yeast

Dough:

  • All of the preferment
  • 5
    cups
    bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2
    cup
    nonfat dry milk
  • 1
    tablespoon
    malt syrup
    (malt powder, brown sugar, or sugar)
  • 1
    tablespoon
    salt
  • 2
    teaspoons
    instant yeast
  • 1
    tablespoon
    olive oil
  • 2
    cups
    water

Directions:

  1. 1. To start the preferment, mix together the flour, water, and yeast in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature for at least 4 hours and as long as 16 hours.
  2. 2. To make the dough, mix together the preferment, water, olive oil, yeast, salt, malt powder, and dry milk in a bowl with 2 more cups of flour. Mix thoroughly. Mix or knead in in the rest of the flour a half a cup at a time until you have a slack dough but one that is no longer sticky. Total mixing time should be in the ballpark of 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. 3. Place the dough in a well-greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature until at least 2 times in size, approximately 2 hours. Punch the dough down and let it rise again for half an hour.
  4. 4. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in half. Shape the dough into a ball or log, cover with a damp towel, and allow it to relax for another 20 minutes.
  5. 5. Shape the dough into its final shape. Cover again and allow to rise for another hour until doubled in bulk.
  6. 6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven and baking stone, if you are using one, to 425 degrees.
  7. 7. Right before placing the loaves in the oven brush or spray them lightly with water. Place them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes before rotating them. Bake them another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the loaf reads 200 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least a half an hour before serving.

Nutrition:

Calories: 133kcal
Fat: 1g
Sodium: 308mg
Potassium: 91mg
Carbohydrates: 25g
Fiber: 1g
Sugar: 2g
Protein: 5g
Vitamin A: 1.2%
Vitamin C: 0.2%
Calcium: 3.9%
Iron: 1.7%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!