The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Italian bread

EndicottNYItalianbread's picture

Italian bread

Hi everyone! Can someone please help me with a recipe?

I used to live in Endicott, NY in the 80's and while there I lived on Felix Roma Italian bread! I have tried and tried to make and italian bread that tasted like this but have failed.  Before I moved I actually went to the bakery and asked if they would share the recipe but they just looked at me like I was stupid! :)


Crider's picture

I wonder what makes Italian bread Italian bread? Is it the sesame seeds on the crust? Some people make it with milk, so is that a defining characteristic? 

EndicottNYItalianbread's picture

I'm not sure about the milk because I've tried that too in different recipes, and this bread did not have the sesame seeds either.  It's basically a white bread but this had a very good taste that's different then just white bread.  I guess I'll keep trying different recipes until I get it right or close. Floyd's Italian bread is very good too but just not the same.


markwhiteff's picture

Hi Susan,

Take a look at this bread. I think its what you are referring to or very close.

I'll send the link.


jpchisari's picture

Hi Susan,

I am by no means an expert, but as I understand from many years of being exposed to Italian breads, defining them can be very difficult. Like I am sure with many countries, foods tend to have different flavor profiles, ingredients and procedures depending on where you are. It can't be simplified to a  specific characteristic. Italian & French dough formulas can at time be interchangeable. Some are every lean( no fat at all ) to slightly enriched with the addition of oil, shortening, milk. They can have sesame seeds, but more often do not.


jpchisari's picture


Here is a straight dough Italian bread I have been producing for many years.


Flour, Water, Yeast, Salt & Oil + 25% old dough, Boga or Levain, depending on what I have.

And another more rustic Italian Round made from the same dough.

I can post formula if you like later when I have more time.



Yumarama's picture

That's some serious oven spring! Those loaves all look tremendous.

I'd like a slice or three, please. 

EndicottNYItalianbread's picture

I would love to try your recipe if you have time to post it.  Your loaves look great! 

I figured different areas produce different tastes even with the same recipe so that is probably why I can't produce the loaf I want.  I'll just have to go back to NY but I don't think my family would be too happy, my husband hates the cold :)

Thanks to everyone for your advice, I really appreciate it.

vstyn's picture

I would like the formula too! That looks very good!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

American bread?  And would they think of South American, North American or Central American first? 


jpchisari's picture

Hi Mini Oven

Growing up in an Italian family in a predominantly Italian neighborhood in Chicago, we indeed called the likes of Wonderbread, American Bread.  Never White Bread.


rick.c's picture

I grew up on Endwell, and I agree that Roma's is the best, nothing that I can come close to finding (now in Rochester).  Anyway, I may be back down there next week and I will pick some up too see if I can come up with something....


EndicottNYItalianbread's picture

Hi Rick, Your lucky to be still close enough to get some.  Please post if you can figure it out :)

patnx2's picture

of that  great looking bread. Please John  Thanks in advance.

vstyn's picture

I would like to have this recipe!

jpchisari's picture

Water-----1 lb---------------------57%

High Gluten Flour---1 lb 12 oz------100%

Instant Yeast-----1/3 oz-------1%

Salt--------1/2 oz-------------------1.75%

Sugar-------3/4 tsp--------------   .50%

Vegetable Oil----3/4 oz------- 2.5%

Old Dough----7 oz-------------25 %

( Add amount of extra water equal to amount of instant yeast)

The easiest way to do this is to make a batch of dough a day ahead, refrigerate overnight and use it for old dough. This way hydration level is maintained.

I have done this with 100% hydration levain without adjusting final dough hydration level with good results.  Experiment!

Straight dough method( All ingredients in mixer at once)

I use a Cuisinart 7 qt mixer.

1 minutes on speed 1

5 minutes on speed 3

4 minutes on speed 4

Adjust speeds and time to your particular mixer.

For larger applications in my commercial Berkel 30 qt mixer I mixed 1 minute on speed 1 and 7-9 minutes on speed 2

Ideal dough temp is 75(2 hrs) -80(1.5 hrs) deg F

Punch down and let rest covered for 10 minutes

Smaller loaves scaled at 1.20 lbs

Larger loaf at 2.25 lbs

Round loaf is flattened after shaping so it is about 2" thick.

Proof until doubled

Dust tops of loaves with flour

Score as desired (my cuts are probably 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep)

( I brush melted margarine onto cuts in bread to keep them moist)

Put in 475 deg oven with lots of steam and lower oven to 425 deg after 30 seconds.

bake until done will vary with oven

1 lb loaf takes approx 25 min in my oven

and 2 lb loaf takes approx 40 min.

Feel free to ask any questios if anything is unclear












EndicottNYItalianbread's picture

Thank you John!  I will definately try it this weekend!

dwcoleman's picture

I'm a little unclear on your instructions.

Is the primary fermentation during this step?

Ideal dough temp is 75(2 hrs) -80(1.5 hrs) deg F


Thanks, I look forward to trying this as well.

jpchisari's picture

Yes this is for first or primary fermentation.

My instructions might seem a little simple, but I'm assuming that most basic procedures are already common knowledge.

rftsr's picture

Rustic Italian Bread

Makes 1 large loaf, about 2 1/2 pounds.   Published January 1, 2003. 

11     ounces bread flour (2 cups)
1/4     teaspoon instant yeast
8     ounces water (1 cup), room temperature

16 1/2     ounces bread flour (3 cups), plus extra for dusting hands and work surface
1     teaspoon instant yeast
10.7     ounces water (1 1/3 cups), room temperature
2     teaspoons table salt

      1. For the biga: Combine flour, yeast, and water in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Knead on lowest speed (stir on KitchenAid) until it forms a shaggy dough, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer biga to medium bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature until beginning to bubble and rise, about 3 hours. Refrigerate biga at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

      2. For the dough: Remove biga from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while making dough. Combine flour, yeast, and water in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook; knead on lowest speed until rough dough is formed, about 3 minutes. Turn mixer off and, without removing dough hook or bowl from mixer, cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap; let dough rest 20 minutes.

      3. Remove plastic wrap, add biga and salt to bowl, and continue to knead on lowest speed until ingredients are incorporated and dough is formed (dough should clear sides of bowl but stick to very bottom), about 4 minutes. Increase mixer speed to low (speed 2 on KitchenAid) and continue to knead until dough forms a more cohesive ball, about 1 minute. Transfer dough to large bowl (at least 3 times dough’s size) and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in cool, draft-free spot away from direct sunlight, until slightly risen and puffy, about 1 hour.

      4. Remove plastic wrap and, following illustrations from “Step by Step: Turning the Dough”, turn dough. Replace plastic wrap; let dough rise 1 hour. Turn dough again, replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise 1 hour longer.

      5. To shape the dough: Dust work surface liberally with flour. Gently scrape and invert dough out of bowl onto work surface (side of dough that was against bowl should now be facing up). Dust dough and hands liberally with flour and, using minimal pressure, push dough into rough 8- to 10-inch square. Following illustrations from “Step by Step: Shaping the Loaf”, shape dough and transfer to large sheet parchment paper. Dust loaf liberally with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap; let loaf rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.

      6. To bake: Using a lame, single-edged razor blade, or sharp chef’s knife, cut slit 1/2 inch deep lengthwise along top of loaf, starting and stopping about 1 1/2 inches from ends; spray loaf lightly with water. Slide parchment sheet with loaf onto baker’s peel or upside-down baking sheet, then slide parchment with loaf onto hot baking stone in oven. Bake 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and quickly spin loaf around using edges of parchment; continue to bake until deep golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf registers 210 degrees, about 35 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack, discard parchment, and cool loaf to room temperature, about 2 hours.

EndicottNYItalianbread's picture

Let me explain the bread a little.  It had a tender crumb but not as tender as basic white and the color of the crust was lighter then a typical white bread.  To make sure the bread is cooked through how do you get a lighter crust?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A lighter crust can be achieved by lowering the baking temperature and lengthening the baking time or wrap the loaf with foil before it gets too much color to reflect the heat off the crust.   Also use reflective or light colored pans, white glass, etc.  Eliminate added malt and sugar in the recipe.

A heavily flour dusted loaf also looks lighter.


bakerslife's picture

I was 32 years old when I first found out what we called American bread was really called White bread.  I never made the connection before my mother would send me to the store and said get a loaf of bread and a loaf of American bread.  The hazards of being raised in a Little Italy.

mrfrost's picture

Maybe not just the Italians call it that. Maybe many or most Europeans(and others?).

I just saw this recipe on a German(?) website:

Recipe for "American Soft Bread"

EndicottNYItalianbread's picture

I only say it's Italian bread because that's what it was sold as.  In the neighborhood I lived in there were alot of Italians living there too.

Thank you Mini!

I think I'll just play around with John's formula above and Floyd's Rustic loaf.  I'll get it close one of these days. 

Thank you all for your input ~ I really appreciate the help.

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete
yankeena's picture


I have been looking over the previous posts, recipes and photos of wonderful looking bread for a few days now.

I have made various types of bread before and am an "experienced" home cook -- meaning that I have been cooking and baking for decades, but only for myself, family and friends.

First, here is my question about the Jason Molina's Ciabatta.

I am making it now and it only has a bit to go on the rising until triple in volume step ;)

Geez!  Jason and buddies, I thought this was for a single loaf, so began making it.  KA bread flour, yeast, salt, water all measured on my neat little digital scale.  Used my Kitchenaid/Hobart mixer and dough hook. But crikey!  The wet sticky batter part is not all that much volume.  Maybe a cup and a half. It is in a "shelter" rising.

As I read on, the original recipe (Jason M.) says to cut into several pieces. Huh? He refers to "loaves."  I went to the original link for the recipe on USENET <sob, sob, too bad usenet got so clobbered by trolls and spammers>.  Yep, it says only 450 gr flour.   

So, before I put my risen glop out of the rising shelter (large glass bowl w tea towel covered by a plate in a pre-warmed, draft free oven), please someone tell me:  is this for a single large ciabatta loaf or 3-4 micro ciabatti or ciabattini?

Is is supposed to be only about a cup and a half before rising?

A bit of an into in the next paragraph.  Thanks so much and keep baking and sharing.

(the photo in my log-in logo whatever is lemon bread from Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Cake Bible, with Heritage and Fall Gold everbearing raspberries).


I loved what I've referred to as "RUSTIC" artisan bread (with holes w shiny walls and some chew) for a long time, but have not known what the correct term is for it.  That bread chain store sometimes has good bread, but often I end up going into a more urban area to get it (Ka-Ching!) and that is very inconvenient -- time, gas, money. 

I'm thrilled that I have found this site and all of you bread bakers.  I think I typed "Rustic Bread" into the search engine and the first hit was Floyd's Rustic Bread.

yankeena's picture

Uh oh.  I goofed with reading the digital scale; thus my error.  Since I already had it rising for 3 hours or more, I eyeball amended it to try to give me something like bread.  If it is no good for even breadcrumbs, the bluejays will have it.


LarAl's picture

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but I lived in Endicott for many years and Felix Roma's is definitely not anything even resembling Italian bread. It is soft spongy bread like a Wonder Bread knock-off of Italian bread. Italian breads in general are similar to French breads. They have a very crispy crust and a soft, open, but never spongy, crumb. Their bread was clearly made for the 'white-bread' majority population of that area. If you wanted very decent Italian bread, like I describe, you had to get it from Giant supermarkets, or go to Ithaca to an artisan bakery like the Ithaca Bakery.

See for a good idea of what Italian bread is really like.


VagabondLoup's picture

The Roma brothers baked in Endicott for many years. Some time ago, Felix Roma sold out his name, his heritage, and the brand, to go national and make big money, selling the detestable "knock off" products you describe. But thank God, his brother, Jim Roma, refused to be a part of that dirty deal, and swore to carry on making the best Italian bread in North America, right there on Nanticoke Ave in Endicott. I'm telling you, Jim Roma is the king of them all, and his loaves are the standard by which all other Italian breads are judged. If you are ever in upstate NY, stop by and show him some love. Find out what Italian bread really is, and while you're there, try a spiedie on an Italian sub roll or one of his old fashion donuts for the road. 

PS: I live in Ithaca, and I will drive fifty miles to Endicott before I go near that overpriced "artisan" rip-off joint Ithaca Bakery. Take it from an old paesano, they haven't made a decent Italian loaf there in forty years.