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Crusty Italian bread recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Crusty Italian bread

What's tastier, cheaper and makes you smile more than a fragrant slice of crusty Italian bread? Eat it with steamed meat or to prepare a wonderful and healthy snack for your children, homemade bread uses are countless. Enjoy!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Resting time20 hrs
Total Time21 hrs 15 mins
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cheap, crusty, easy, fragrant, healthy, homemade, versatile, yeast
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Roberto
Cost: 0.25 $

Equipment

  • Mixer (optional, but highly recommended due to high hydration)
  • spoon
  • bowl
  • Dutch oven
  • Chopping board (or a surface to knead on)

Ingredients

  • 500 gr Flour My mix is: 100 gr strong flour, 100 gr wholemeal spelt flour, 300 gr wheat flour type '0'
  • 350 gr water tap water is good, but use it after 10 minutes rest.
  • 2 gr dehydrated beer yeast
  • 8 gr salt
  • 3 gr diastatic malt A good substitute is a tablespoon of honey.

Instructions

  • Add flour, malt and yeast in the mixer bowl.
    Crusty Italian bread recipe
  • Start mixing, at minimum speed, slowly adding water. When half of the water is absorbed, add the salt.
    Crusty Italian bread recipe
  • Go on mixing, adding the remaining water, until the dough is smooth and the glutinic net is created. Let it rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.
    Crusty Italian bread recipe
  • Sprinkle some flour on the chopping board, then work the dough on it, doing what we call "folding the dough". Do that at least twice. Watch the video as a reference.
    Crusty Italian bread recipe
  • Put the dough into an oiled bowl, then cover it with a transparent film. Let it rest for about 20 hours in the fridge (it must double in size). Alternative: about 3 hours at ambient temperature.
    Crusty Italian bread recipe
  • Put the dutch oven into the oven and light it at 230 °C. After the temperature is stable, remove it from the oven, drop the dough into it (no need to shape it!), cover and put it back into the oven.
    Crusty Italian bread recipe
  • Cook it for 30 minutes at 230 °C, then lower at 200 °C and remove the cover. After 15 minutes, the bread is done. (Note: leave the oven door slightly open during the last 5 minutes). Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool down on a grid. When it has reached ambient temperature... you can enjoy it. Buon appetito!
    Crusty Italian bread recipe

Notes

Tips:
  • malt (or honey if you cannot find it) is essential to get it crusty
  • last 5 minutes of cooking, keep the oven slightly open (I use a wooden spoon to block the oven door). This will avoid having a loaf crunchy outside but wet inside
  • cooling the bread down on a grid with air below is important, to have homogeneous cooling
  • use a mixer to create a better glutinic mesh. The result will be an evenly leavened loaf, with homogeneous texture
  • not losing the loaf shape while cooking is the hardest part of making homemade bread. The dutch oven has been truely enlightening to me: the loaf is always perfect!