Chef Bob’s Easy Crusty Italian Bread

Crusty Italian Bread

My own personal recipe for Crusty Italian Bread. You may or may not add sesame seeds on top.  Italian bread – Perhaps a bit closer to French bread in composition and appearance, American “Italian bread” is a lean white bread, often braided and covered in sesame seeds, with a thin but usually crisp crust and a soft crumb. American “Italian bread” does not particularly resemble many traditional Italian bread forms, but is very popular in both loaf form and roll form, where it is often closely associated with sandwich making.

 

 

1 package (2½ teaspoons) active dry yeast

1¼ cups warm water (105-115°)

3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

cornmeal for dusting

Combine yeast, water, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 cup of flour in mixing bowl. Allow to rest for

10 minutes until the yeast starts bubbling and giving off a “yeasty” smell.

Add the remaining flour, sugar and salt and mix until the flour is incorporated. Add the olive

oil and knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and satiny.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, coating the dough all around with the oil. Cover with plastic

wrap or a wet tea towel and place in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in volume — 45

minutes to an hour or more, depending on temperature.

Punch down the dough, roll into desired loaf shape, cover with plastic again and allow to rise

until doubled in volume.

Place an ovenproof bowl or pan of water in the oven and pre-heat to 425°. Turn down to 400 when you put the

bread in. Bake 20-30 minutes, depending on shape of loaves. Bread is finished when it

makes a hollow sound when you thump on the bottom with your thumb.

Sugested styles and uses:

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