Rustic Italian Bread

Posted on: May 14, 2013

Rustic Italian Bread is great to dunk into soups, make baquette like sandwiches or just as a sideto pasta and antipasti.
This recipe is super easy to make and it’s sure to impress your family or any dinner guests you’ll be inviting over this weekend. The Rustic Italian Bread outer crust is thick and crispy and the inside is warm, soft and delightfully tasty. The recipe makes two loaves so there should be plenty to go around

Ingredients for the Rustic Italian Bread:
180 gr flour
½ package fresh yeast
90 ml warm water (+/- 40°C)

3 tablespoons warm water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
200 gr flour

Preparation of the Rustic Italian Bread:
Mix the yeast and flour in a mixing bowl until combined.
Pour the water in with the yeast mixture and stir the mixture for 3 minutes.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for at least 4 hours but not longer than 12 hours.

After the sponge has properly rested, add the water and salt to it. Stir in the flour, adding a little extra as needed if the dough is too sticky.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface (or place in a dough mixer) and knead for about 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a bowl greased with olive oil, pat the top of the dough with olive oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Take one of the halves and shape it into a long rectangle by working it in the air with your hands and then lightly stretching it on a floured surface. Fold the rectangle in half, lightly stretch it out a little bit and then fold in half again.
Pinch the seam tightly together with your fingers, ensuring no openings remain.
Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.
Leave the loaves on the floured work surface, cover with plastic wrap and allow rising for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 210°C
Place each loaf onto a lightly greased and floured baking sheet or baking stone, stretching each loaf gently as you place them, and sprinkle each with flour. Cover the loaves again with plastic wrap and let rise for about 20 minutes.
Cut a few diagonal slashes across the top of each loaf and bake for about 20 minutes until lightly browned.

The Rustic Italian Bread is similar shaped as the French baguette.


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