Basic Italian Bread

    1 hour 20 minutes

    This is a basic Italian loaf. This recipe makes three loaves, so you can freeze some or give them away to your friends.

    675 people made this

    Serves: 36 

    • 3 cups (750ml) warm water (45 C)
    • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
    • 1 tablespoon dried active baking yeast
    • 800g plain flour
    • 1 tablespoon salt

    Preparation:20min  ›  Cook:1hour  ›  Ready in:1hour20min 

    1. In a large bowl, add the sugar and yeast to the warm water and let proof.
    2. Stir in a little more than half of the flour to the yeast mixture and beat until smooth. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
    3. Beat in the salt and then add enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Knead until soft and smooth. Turn in an oiled bowl, cover and let double in size. (I put it in the oven with the light on - perfect rising temperature.)
    4. Once doubled punch down and divide into three. Place back in the bowl, cover and let rise.
    5. Once doubled again, punch down and form into three fat loaves. Grease heavy baking trays and sprinkle with polenta. Place the bread on the trays, cover with a towel and let rise.
    6. Once risen, mist with water and place in a preheated 230 degrees C oven. Mist loaves with water and turn occasionally while they bake. Bread is done when golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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    Reviews in English (475)


    This bread is fabulous. I make bread a lot. For those of you who have read the other complaints about a sticky bread, this is the deal. The flour for a bread recipe is always a variable. Depending on the humidity in the weather and protien content in your flour, the flour can fluxuate by as much as 350g. Italian breads, pizza doughs and french breads should never be sticky. Stick with this rule and your family will love your bread and your house will smell great. Best of all you will have delicious bread for dinner for pennies!!! I made all three loaves and they were gone in an evening.  -  14 Jul 2008


    Good recipe. As a culinary student I've tried and failed with bread many times before. Here's what I've found that may help some reviewers: 1) Proof your yeast as directed (mixing water, yeast & sugar) -- if it doesn't start bubbling or frothing after 10 min, bin it. Either the yeast is dead (check expiration date) Or you killed it with HOT tap water. 2) Mist the bread with water every 3 min for the first 10 min. Why? This does 3 things. Prevents the crust from forming too fast thus restricting the rising process. It moisens the crust just enough so it doesn't brown/burn at the end of the baking period - you get a golden brown instead of a dark heavy crust. And it finally makes the crust crispier. This is a very important step. It also helps if you have a bowl of water in the oven to increase the humidity. Professional ovens have adjustable humidity controls which add moisture. Why only 10 min? You can mist for longer but you'll end up with a thin white crust instead of golden brown. Once the bread has risen to its full potential (within the 1st 10 min or so depending on the size of the loaf), then you want it to start becoming golden brown. This is my 1st review -- hope this helps. Best of luck!  -  14 Jul 2008


    Fantastic bread recipe. Soft dough would be a confusion for newbies, but lovely to work with. Wonderful crumb and crust. Lovely flavour.  -  29 Dec 2011