The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Italian Bread

Italian Bread

What is commonly known as Italian Bread in the states is something like French Bread but typically softer. The dough typically contains some olive oil and dairy to soften things up, and instead of steaming the oven to maximize crust you brush the crust with water before placing it in the oven which keeps it softer and chewier. It is the perfect spongy bread for mopping up pasta sauces, and quite good on its own.

This is based on the recipe from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. I used a preferment: he does not. I'm not sure if it made a difference or not, but the way I made it turned out quite good.

Italian Bread

Makes 2 large 2 pound loaves
1 cup water
1 cup bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

All of the preferment
5 cups bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon malt syrup, malt powder, brown sugar, or sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water

To start the preferment, mix together the flour, water, and yeast in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature for at least 4 hours and as long as 16 hours.

To make the dough, mix together the preferment, water, olive oil, yeast, salt, malt powder, and dry milk in a bowl with 2 more cups of flour. Mix thoroughly. Mix or knead in the rest of the flour a half a cup as a time until you have a slack dough but one that is no longer sticky. Total mixing time should be in the ballpark of 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the dough in a well-greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature until at least 2 times in size, approximately 2 hours. Punch the dough down and let it rise again for half an hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in half. Shape the dough into a ball or log, cover with a damp towel, and allow it to relax for another 20 minutes.

Shape the dough into its final shape. Cover again and allow to rise for another hour until doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven and baking stone, if you are using one, to 425 degrees.

Right before placing the loaves in the oven brush or spray them lightly with water. Place them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes before rotating them. Bake them another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the loaf reads 200 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least a half an hour before serving.

Italian Bread

Related Recipe: Rustic Bread


Ricardo's picture

Fantastic! thank you for the baking tips

Bakenstein's picture

This Bread IS Motivation!

I hope that my family and I will be enjoying it tomorrow night.

Thanks for the detailed instructions and beautifully arranged tablesetting.

Bakenstein's picture

Yes tonight we did enjoy the bread.
I was much happier with the crusts. They were dark and crusty. Just not enough rise in final product. I will keep trying-any thoughts welcome.

hotbred's picture

Please!!! make sure the oven is 50 degrees hotter then you need it,, FORE THE MOMENT!!! Good preheat spray bread w. plant sprayer Put bread in oven,, count to 25 turn oven down to 425 this gives the bread a so called kick in the a--- somewhat shocks the bread into exploding from the heat.. dont forget!!! buy a small razor knife & slash the bread 1/4 in deep 3 or 4 times or it will not react!!! to the oven temp & will stay small & hard & dense & heavy G B GOOD LUCK HOTBRED

Bakenstein's picture

Yes thanks very much for the advice. I am planning on getting a mister and a new oven thermometer. My old one says I'm off by 25 degrees but I don't trust it. Also the razor too.

karol's picture

I didn't know I was suppose to do this for that particular yeast, I use my Zo machine and just do what that says, put the yeast in the middle, dry. Or is that just for hand made bread?

sphealey's picture

The word "proof" has several different meanings in baking.  Here it refers to the final rise of the dough before it goes into the oven.  Proofing yeast of course would be done prior to the first step of mixing the dough.  However, proofing yeast is seldom necessary and if your dough in rising in your breadmaker than don't worry about it.


Maggie Lou's picture
Maggie Lou

Hi Hotbread,

I have read and seen the slashing of dough at the end of the second proof, and it scares me stiff, afraid of total collapse.  Yet you wrote, "slash the bread 1/3 in deep 3 or 4 tiems or it will not react!!"

Does slashing the dough 'help' the rise in the hot oven??? 

I just made a loaf (me novice!)I proofed my yeast 2 teas. 1/2 c warm water 1/2 teas sugar - it was beautiful - I added the remainder warmed water, 2 teas salt, 2 teas sugar, 3.5 c ap flour, 1/2 c. dark rye.  Nice texture.  It rose nicely in 1 1/4 hours (but the damp towel stuck and it dropped).  Then I added a bit more flour to kneading about 6 min.  Shaped it, damped top to sprinkle seeds.  Placed it back into 80 degree oven.  it rose well.  took it out to preheat.  

It was really pretty.  Then it dropped!  and it was only 3/4 full.  The texture was good, good flavor.  WHAT HAPPENED?  Was it because I did not slash??

Please help.


wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

Properly proofed dough will not collapse when slashed.

Overproofed dough will collapse when touched or even if you shake it.

Since you say the towel stuck (you need a larger container to make sure it doesn't touch) and made the dough collapse, it sounds like even the first rise was too long.


tlusardi's picture

Since I normally bake more than one loaf, I have been using convection baking with the same temps recommended, Should I be making adjustments for convection or just not use the convection setting. 

I have also been using a small pan with water on the lower oven rack. Is this recommended or should I only use the spray at the beginning.

Novice bread maker

monicak's picture

I followed all the directions carefully but my darn loaf wouldn't stop spreading.  When it was finally done, it had all the nice airiness, the holes, and a good flavor, but the shape was of biscotti!  I want to get a nice round loaf in the picture.  What did I do wrong? 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Been a while since the question was answered, but here goes anyway -

Loaves tend to spread if they are underdeveloped, if the dough is too wet, and/or if the loafing wasn't energetic enough.

In some cases. it's just easier to make a pan loaf, and, yes, pan loaves are artisanal loaves.  You're the artisan, you made the bread, it's an artisanal loaf.


chefscook's picture

You probably by now are an expert on your issue it might have raise for a longer than normal time and the deflated 

itself breads will do that try not rising it for a long time good luck if I can help just let me know





shakthi's picture

This post inspired me to try baking.


Floydm's picture

Rock on. I hope it turned out well (and, if it didn't, that you'll try again).

cnemmers's picture

Floydm- This bread had the absolute best crust and flavor. However, I am new to bread baking and I should have trusted my instincts alittle better and added more flour then the 5 cups in recipe- because it was a very slack dough..apparently too wet and sticky. I took HOTBREDS advice and had a really hot oven turned the oven 50 degrees higher and then waited 25 sec and turned the oven down and also slashed the top. My question is if your dough is too wet and sticky and needs more flour could that totally explain why the dough never took shape and spread out like a blob and didn't rise well?

Floydm's picture

It should still rise, assuming it has enough gluten development to hang together. But it might spread out more than you'd like.

Yes, there is a point where it ceases to be a viable dough and just becomes a batter, but that point is much harder to reach than one typically thinks. Folding the dough while it is rising helps it tighten up. Also, keeping it shaped while it rises by using a couche or some tea towels will help it rise up instead of out. And, sure, at least until you get a handle on things, feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of extra flour.

avatrx1's picture

I'm working on making the italian bread.  The dough, even though I added more flour, is still VERY wet.  I know that wet dough allows for bigger holes, which I like, but I don't know how to shape a loaf that is this wet.  My only experience with this type of dough is the no-knead - let it raise on a floured towel and then dump it into a preheated stoneware dutch oven.

I just punched it down (stirred it down actually) and  am waiting for the next rise.  Should I just plan on the next rise being on floured towels and using the preheated dutch oven method?  AT this point I don't believe there is any way I can shape this dough.  I do have parchment paper.  could that be used to bail me out?


tori's picture

is there a difference? i have always know that as a sponge. preferment sounds very ... british?

Floydm's picture

Preferment, sponge, poolish, barm, bigas... we're all talking about the same general thing: some portion of the dough that has fermented longer than the rest.

shi's picture

Floydm can i just half all the ingredients to make one loaf

JMonkey's picture

To size any bread forumla up or down, you just double, triple, halve, or whatever all the ingredients. Works like magic!

hears2u's picture

my bread didnot rise as much as I thought after following these instructions until I placed in a low temp (100 deg) oven.  Was I supposed to use warm water with the active dry yeast?  When recipes call for water, is it implied to use warm water?

Paddyscake's picture


If you used "Active dry yeast" you do need to proof it in warm water. Stir the yeast into 110-115 degree water and let set for 5-10 minutes or until frothy, then add it to the dry ingredients.

If you use "Instant yeast" or "Breadmachine yeast" you can add it directly to the dry ingredients.


hears2u's picture

Ok, thanks to the reminder about the yeast, I tried again and got a great loaf.
Fantastic bread (and made great toast).  Next question: since I live alone I don't go through as much bread as many others.  Can the dough be frozen at any stage for a quick bake later?  How about making freezing the second loaf?  Anyone tried to freeze this bread?


pmccool's picture

I routinely bake more than one loaf at a time and freeze those that won't be eaten right away.  The mess for one loaf or four is about the same and so is the energy usage with the oven.  For short-term storage in the freezer (a couple of weeks), a single bag works just fine. For longer storage, upwards of a couple of months, you'll probably be better off double-bagging the bread.  In either situation, the key is to remove as much of the air from the bag as as you can while closing it, as this helps slow the loss of moisture from the bread.  I tend to shy away from zip-loc style bags.  The plastic is stiffer, which makes it harder to expel the extra air, and the shape usually won't accomodate a loaf of bread.  When I find them in the store, I buy 1-gallon size bags with twist-tie closures.  Some of the packages even recommend them for freezing bread, because the bag conforms to the shape of the loaf.  If there is a bakery outlet or supply store in your area, you may be able to purchase new bags that the commercial bakers use. They work pretty well for short-tem freezer use, too.


gtbehary's picture

The Rustic bread recipe that you posted worked great for me. I froze one loaf so I can enjoy it later. I am going to try the Italian Bread this weekend. 

george.....Still Trying to find a good loaf of bread in South Florida!

BZCHEFFY's picture

I love Clayton's book, along with Feild's Italian Breads,

 I recommend both.

To tweak this recipe, I added 1/2 cup of rye flour to the preferment (poolish).

It adds a bit more rustic flavor and texture to the bread, very subltle, but nice.

Be sure to leave the loaf quite slack, just bordering on too sticky to work.


Bread, wine, beer, the best things all need yeast

Mountain Mama's picture
Mountain Mama


I live in a small Alaskan town and the only way to get good, fresh bread is to bake it yourself. I tried this recipe last night and it turned out great. I love this site! We don't have much to do in the winter around here so bread baking has become our new craft. Thanks for the recipe, the bread was lovely!

Trishinomaha's picture

I made this bread yesterday. It didn't rise as high as I would have liked but the crumb and taste are great! Floyd's "snail" recipe is rising as I type this. Pictures of that later...

Here's the Italian:

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

I'm going to try to convert this recipe to a whole wheat, no-knead recipe.  Are you adding the powdered milk to make up for using processed flour?  If I want to eliminate the powdered milk can I substitute some whole milk for the water?  If so, how much?  I'm chomping at the bit to try this...

 Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

sadears's picture

I don't have any powered milk today.  What can I substitute?



Paddyscake's picture

I have always subbed skim milk (that's all I drink) in place of the dry. So I would use 1/2 cup of milk and 1 1/2 cups of water. I wouldn't think the fat content of whole milk would make much difference. I find no discernable difference, it is such a small amount.

KipperCat's picture

A more precise substitution for the 1/2 cup powdered dry milk and 1-1/2 cups water would be 1-1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup water.  I imagine either way will give you good bread, but there are some areas where the milk/water difference would make quite a difference.

To get 1 cup of milk, place 1/3 cup of powdered milk in a 1 cup measure and fill the cup with water. These figures are for instant powdered milk, they may be different for the non-instant kind.

mariana's picture

Thank you for the idea and the recipe, Floydm. I baked this bread today and got 2 gigantic loaves out of the oven. Delicious, excellent crumb and crust. We had it with strawbery jam which I prepared using your recipe. Delicious.

Bear08's picture

I made this recipe a few weeks ago. It turned out great! It was great with some Nutella spread on it. Excellent flavor and texture.

TheDrkHorseOne's picture

Mentioned that scrumptuous looking Lasagna or baked item that's BEHIND the bread?? I think we need THAT recipe as well.


Oh, and thanks for making the distinction between Italian and French breads.


I'm also a fan of Clayton's. He's from my home state, so I'm rather biased, though.

ellenmg's picture

Floyd, you are my new best friend...... I made this recipe to go with homemade lasagna.   I did not have the time to preferment.  I thought it smelled rather off prior to final rise...and it seemed too flabby..... BOY WAS I WRONG.....

     It was fab-u-lous..... Very moist, heavy (not in a bad way) delicious, would be terrific with dipping herbs and olive oil.....  I hid one loaf and ate it all by myself. Oink, oink.....




SharonB's picture

Hi I'm new to this site. I just made this bread and my family loved it. I did have some problems with it however. I did everthing according to the directions and the dough was very sticky. I added another cup of flour and it was still very sticky. I decided that if I added much more flour I'd chage the nature of the recipe too much so I oiled my hands and shaped the loaves.

Like I said it was wonderful and everyone loved it. But what might I have done wrong?




henchal's picture

You must scald milk before using if you are using skim or whole milk instead of dry milk - otherwise bread may not rise.



koo104's picture

I too had troubles with handling this dough. Then I found a book, DOUGH by Richard Bertinet. The photos are fantastic but I am not sure how the recipes are. The best part is the DVD of Richard making up the dough in a home kitchen w/ no special equipment.  The focus on on the kneading the dough using a French technique of Folding in air.  Then how to shape the loaf.  This DVD has revolutionized the textures of my bread. it is what is lacking in all of the 1/2 doz bread books I have bought.

I am on my 4th weekend of backing this bread.

ericspowell69's picture


Thats instant yeast not active dry correct? Same  with the Kaiser rolls too?

Floydm's picture

Yes, I typically use instant yeast. Active dry will work fine too though, if you activate it in warm water first.

pjkobulnicky's picture

It must be that Bernard Clayton was born before the development of scales to weigh ingredients.  Clayton has a lot of good recipes but you have to pick a weight for a cup of flour and substitute the weight for the volume measurement. i use 5 oz but there has been much debate on this site about the exact weight to substitute.

The point is that you used a cup that did not put enough flour into the mixture.  My volume cups are usually 20-25% too light compared to my standard of 5 oz.  That's probably why your dough was slack. Makes great taste and crust but can't hold its shape.


Paul Kobulnicky

Baking in Ohio

Fishook's picture

My dough must have been too wet as it spread too

much and didnt rise much.Tastes great.

However I'll get it right next time.Love this site 

Jimeats's picture

A great loaf plus

This turned out perfect for me, a little troble getting it off the peal but I made it work.

First time I made 2 loafs and gave one away. Second time I made one and saved the dough for pizza. The pizza was just great. This may become my standard recipe for pizza dough or calzones. Thanks Jim 

bakerb's picture

Hi, would Floyd's Italian bread dough be OK for pizza dough? or is a less enriched dough better?  Thanks! 

sphealey's picture

Pizza doughs are all over the map in terms of high-gluten vs. low-gluten flour, olive oil vs. no olive oil, milk product vs. no milk product, etc. In my experience they all work; they just produce somewhat different crusts.

Floyd's Italian bread recipe looks very similar to my base pizza dough recipe except that I use yoghurt or buttermilk rather than dried milk. You will want to cook it at a lower temperature than a straight dough - around 425-435 deg.F. The crust will be brown on the bottom and have a somewhat more breadlike structure than a New York-style straight dough.


bakerb's picture

Tonight I made pizza with the second 1/2 of Floyd's Italian Bread dough (I used the first half for my B's Hidden Focassia)...The pizza was awesome...thanks for your help!


JVaughan's picture

When I made this bread the dough was really slack and sticky.  I understand that a cup of flour is not always a cup of flour so how can I tell that I have the proper amount of flour so the dough will not be so slack? Or is it suppose to be really slack and sticky?

Paddyscake's picture

can make a big difference. Volume wise, some people scoop, some tap their measuring cups (which compacts the flour). Without a scale, your best guide will be feel. A slack dough will be soft, not holding a tight, firm shape. Not sticky, means just that. If your dough is sticky add a bit of flour, a tablespoon at a time, no more..then knead a bit and vice versa for dry dough, a TBL of water at a time. Sticky sticks to your fingers and won't let go, tacky sticks a sec. It is kind of an AHA!'ll know when it happens. When it are on your way to having a feel for dough. I really would suggest getting a scale, but for now you can get by. I hesitate to try and explain sensory perception and if this isn't helpful, sorry. I'll leave it to our pros to guide you. Good luck, let us know how it goes.

lcsa99's picture

What differences will using malt syrup/malt powder/brown sugar/sugar each have on the bread? Would any of them make a significant difference?

nbicomputers's picture

malt both dry and syrup are interchainable

malt is directly digestable by yeast and is used as a yeast food for a faster rise and will provide a mild malt tast to the bread but since the yeast will eat it up very quickly it is mostly gone by the time you bake the bread

sucrose or table sugas is not directly digested and must be broken down into sympler compounds before the yeast can use it for food the result is more ETOH in the bread (Alcohol) and a slower rise.

since the yeast has a harder time using sucrose more is left in the dough at baking time  your bread will be sweeter and will get a faster and darker crust as the left over sugar close to the surface carmalizis.

brown sugar in the same as sucrose execpt a percentage of molases have been left in during the refining process this also must be broken down before yeast can use it as food the results will be simaler to sucrose with the diferance of color and the taste that the molasses will provide


Baker  Ret.

lcsa99's picture

I finally tried it this weekend and I am really happy. I may have kneaded it a bit much, but it still came out great. Really getting the hang of shaping by hand too!


All the tips on this board really helped. Brushed it with butter when it came out of the oven. Will definitely work with this recipe more.

little_limey's picture

What exactly am I supposed to do to "Shape the dough into a ball or log, cover with a damp towel"? Do I wrap the bread in a damp towel or do I put the dough back into the bowl and cover the bowl with a damp cloth? When I then reshape the bread for it's final rise, should i be covering it with a damp towel again? Should I cook the bread directly on my oven racks or should I cook it on a cookie sheet?

 I have not seen malt syrup or powder for sale in any of my local grocery stores. Is it a common ingredient that I have been overlooking in the baking aisle? If not, where is the best place to order it online?

cheesecake man's picture
cheesecake man

put your dough in the bowl and cover with either a damp cloth or plastic wrap, they will give the same results.  It keeps the air movement out of the bowl and lets the dough rise without drying out the surface and forming a crust on the dough, thus inhibiting the rise.  DO NOT WRAP YOUR DOUGH IN A DAMP TOWEL!!!!!!!!  If you do, you will have a mess, as the dough will stick to the cloth and will defeat the purpose of the proofing by deflating your dough when you try to remove the towel.  Also, before you cover the dough for the proofing be sure that you either spray some non-stick spray, or oil on  the dough so once it gets to full volume it does not stick to the covering, if by chance it touches the covering.

After you shape your dough you need to again cover but not necessarily with a damp cloth, plastic wrap works great, just be sure you lightly spray the plastic wrap or the top of your bread so you don't have the cover sticking.

Bake your bread on a cookie sheet in the middle of the oven.

For the dry or liquid malt, the best place to buy it is at a home brew store, where they sell products for the person who makes beer at home.

Cheesecake man (Rick)

karol's picture

Hi everyone,

I have a question about this malt powder, I got the diastatic malt powder from the King Arthur site, actually I bought 2 bags, then someone mentioned malted milk powder from the store, so I got that too but I am confused  on which to use, when you guys mention malt powder in these recipes, which are you talking about? So far my bread making has been bad, I also have the vital wheat gluten and just got some wheat bran, dry milk too, potato flakes, now I just need some serious advice, on what not to use here. TIA

little_limey's picture

Thanks for the help!

Any suggestions for the container to hold my dough while I'm letting it rise the last time? The only bread I have made in the past has been in loaf pans. Should I put the shaped dough into a cassarole dish to let it rise or can I let it rise on the cookie sheet?


Also, I am planning on continuing to improve my baking skills. Should I invest in a baking stone or stick with a cookie sheet?

sheikyurbouti's picture

Bob's Red Mill stocks malted barley powder and barley flour as well.

In the grocery store next to the chocolate milk powders you will find Carnation Mallted Milk powder. It is malted barley powder with some anti-caking agent added. read the label and see if it's something bread-worthy.

I am a home-brewer. As cheesecake man has stated, a very fine place to find barley ANYTHING is your friendly local homebrew supply. Beware tho - the malted barley powder loves moisture and will harden into the nastiest sugar rock if it can absorb ambient humidity.

Ciao  amici!




Paddyscake's picture

Well, mine is definitely a sugar rock. How do you suggest storing it? I had it in a ziploc baggie with the air squeezed out like you would do with brown sugar.

cheesecake man's picture
cheesecake man

little_limey:  it all depends on what shape you want for your final product.  If you want it to be a free form loaf you can use any of the three items you mentioned.  If you use the baking stone you can either final proof on parchment paper and transfer to the hot stone or use a pizza peel, with corn meal on the peel, for final proof and slide the bread off of the peel onto the stone.  There are a number of other ways you can proof your bread and transfer to the stone, just need to experiment and see what works for you.  As for using a casserole dish, if it is large enough you can probably free form, proof and bake.  You will find the crust on the bread from using the baking stone will be a little more crunchy.  I practiced with the cookie sheet before I finally purchased my stone.

Paddyscake:  I have found by double bagging the powdered malt it will stay for a long time without getting hard.  But, one of the secrets I have found is dip into the bag real quick to pull out the amount I need and then close very quickly (squeeze the air out).  This whole process should take just a few seconds - the quicker the better!!!!!!!!  Also, when you put the malt into your flour be sure to incorporate it immediately (which you probably already know) or you will find it will begin to collect moisture and get lumpy and hard in a matter of seconds.  Sounds like it is not worth the effort but as you know from using malt it does add to the flavor of the bread and bagels.

Like sheikyurbouti said:  "malted barley loves moisture"  So, to reiterate, you need to have the bag open as little as possible - that is also true with the Carnation malt that you buy in the jar at the grocery store.

Hope this helps.

Cheesecake man (Rick) 

ScottyJM's picture

For keeping the moisture down, go to your local smoke shop. Ask them for a humidity stone. It is the same one that you would use to keep your pipe tobacco or cigars moist or to take out the moisture. They are around $2.00 USD. 

slashl's picture

This is my first try at the Italian loaf. I have taken quite a few baking classes and seem to pick up recipes rather easily. I'm very happy with the results as this is my first time using a preferment. I am so inspired to continue to challnge myself with new methods and recipes thanks to this website!!


I have my pictures of my loaf in the link listed below.. Can't seem to figure out how to upload onto this site...


Many Thanks!

nanak's picture

On Tuesday I tried your Kaiser rolls and was very happy the way they came out. Since we moved down here 2 yrs ago I have not had a good Kaiser roll. I started the dough in my bread maker for the first rise, but when I mke them today I will only use the bread maker to mix.  I also used the malt I had in my cubbord.  Chocolate malt. It turned out good.

Thanks for your help


Momtotwobadboys's picture

Mm.. Nice, chewy crust. It's so tasty that I'm trying real hard not to eat it all in one sitting! I am definitely hooked on bread making now. Thank you so much!

femlow's picture

I cut the recipe in half and started the preferment for this before I went to work yesterday and finished it after I got home. It was the first loaf of yeast bread I've made, and despite a few little problems, I couldn't be more excited. I wanted a loaf that would have a nice soft crust, as that's what my boyfriend prefers, to turn into garlic bread to keep on hand in the freezer for nights when we have pasta, and this sounded perfect. Unfortunately, I couldn't keep my boyfriend from playing with the dial on the oven, and this is only the second time we've used it (we just moved in) and it is numbered 1-8 instead of giving degrees... So there was quite a bit of guessing and hoping, and I forgot to spray the bread with water before sticking it in. It came out with quite a crunchy crust.

I couldn't keep my boyfriend away from it for 5 minutes, let alone the 30 the recipe called for, and we were pleased to find it still turned out well, despite being crunchier than I'd hoped. And this morning, I found that what is left of the loaf has the much softer, chewier crust that I was looking for. I don't think any of it is going to make it to the freezer though, so I'll be baking more soon. I'll probably make the full two loaves, just to ensure atleast some of it becomes garlic bread.

Sparkie's picture



My family like Itaian bread that are flour water, salt, yeast, and someplaces add an oil, and as a kid, it was lard or commercial crisco type fat, not much , but some. The Pizzerias I did electrical work in , did not use eggs or milk in their doughs, nor the one I almost bought used it either. I also did work in "bread Bakeries" they also di not use milk or milk producs in breads. I watched closely actually , and asked. Since I was an "electrician" they tought me either stupid or inept, and never really paid much attention except to answer questions.

The ecpetions are there to be sure, there are pizzerias that add everyhting to the dough, but the classics do not, and what I call Italian Breads you would say is French bread. No eggs , No dairy. My dad cannot tell you what the diff is, but he will tell you he doesn't like it. He does eat breads with dairy and eggs, but when we say Itailan bread, they are 1 of two kinds, (usually)big rounds (ciabatta?, panetone?eh, I no Capicse) with nice holes, or "regular" which is a baguette style.  And dad will TRAVEl to get a better bread.

Then they also make "lard bread" which has tons of pig fat and chopped proscuitto, and cracked black pepper corns. I make a varient with bits of provolone. This is regulated by orders from Cardiologist.  You can also make it with sausage, , just brown up porks sausage (with seeds please), use sweet or hot, gring it up add it to the flour with ALLL the drippings, and add more fat as kneaded. I can't give recipe w/o clearence from you cardiologist, and lawyers, and you must have will made out.



avatrx1's picture

As a follow-up to my previous dilemma..  Once it has risen the first time, can I incorporate more flour prior to the 2nd or 3rd rise or will that good it up?  It was pretty dry in my house and I didn't weigh the flour.  there were no weights listed in the recipe.  I thought - if anything - I'd need less flour but apparently my thinking was somewhat flawed.  I"d really like to be able to work with this dough, but it's way to soft to shape.

LindyD's picture

Not your fault you didn't use weights since it states volume only and talks about "punching down" the dough.  An old recipe, for certain.

Adding more flour after the bulk fermentation would result in lines of unincorporated flour throughout the crumb after it is baked.

When the dough is ready to shape, placing it on a heavily floured surface will make it a bit easier to work with.  If you have a banneton or couche, you could try using either.  Or you could just treat it as a ciabatta, cut the dough in half, and move it to parchment for baking on your stone.

It may not wind up pretty, but am betting it will still taste good.

avatrx1's picture

Here are the two loaves that I made.  The smaller one I did actually knead in some additional flour in the middle of the 2nd rise.  I baked it in a preheated enamel coated cast iron dutch oven. I generously brushed it with water before putting it in the oven.  The texture was much smoother.

The larger one was without additional flour, but allowed to rise on a floured towel.  apparently not quite long enough.  I also baked this one in a preheated dutch oven - lid on for the first 30 minutes and 20 minutes with the lid off. There were quite a few holes in this one.  More like ciabatta, only round.

Both tasted great!

Next time I'll knead in enough flour to start with.  Then hopefully I can shape them into a nice size loaf.  If I were to make one large loaf - how long would I bake them?

Thanks for the quick rescue advice.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I wouldn't go too wild with adding more flour.  Looks like a nice shape.  I especially like the floured one.  Doubled might take from 60 to 75 minutes ... use a thermometer to check inside for doneness.

Crumb shot!  Crumb shot!  Crumb shot!

avatrx1's picture

I think the only reason I mainted the shape was because I did bake both of them in enameled cast iron dutch ovens.  The large was one literally Poured into the pan from the floured towel - hence all the flour on it.  The smaller one had a little bit of a shape to it.

Here are the photos.  The color is a little funky.  Not sure why. the photos seem to run together.  I guess I don't know how to upload properly.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It took some looking, you were hiding in the old dates!  That's why we easily missed you... ok you wrote:

I'm working on making the italian bread.  The dough, even though I added more flour, is still VERY wet.  I know that wet dough allows for bigger holes, which I like, but I don't know how to shape a loaf that is this wet.  My only experience with this type of dough is the no-knead - let it raise on a floured towel and then dump it into a preheated stoneware dutch oven.

I just punched it down (stirred it down actually) and  am waiting for the next rise.  Should I just plan on the next rise being on floured towels and using the preheated dutch oven method?  AT this point I don't believe there is any way I can shape this dough.  I do have parchment paper.  could that be used to bail me out?


If the shaping is really awkward, then I suggest you add a bit more flour when mixing up the dough.  Reads like you figured out about rolling dough around on floured towels.  Parchment works if you don't plan on turning or flipping the dough over because unbaked dough can really stick to it,  it releases after it's baked.  I've lowered risen loaves into pots on parchment. I've also put dough into floured cold dutch ovens and let them proof inside, slashed when ready (to avoid super sized bubbles on top) and baked with the lid on in a hot oven.  Add about 5-10 minutes to the baking time and remove lids at your own discretion.

Thanks for the crumb shots!  The bread looks good!  I wouldn't say they were underproofed at all.  I think you could easily combine both loaves into one.

About the upload... not to worry.  What you have to do is move your curser to the end of the picture and start a new paragraph before downloading the next picture.  Ahhh you'll get the hang of it in no time...

Mini O

avatrx1's picture

I really appreciate the input.  I had thought about allowing the dough to rise on parchment in one dutch oven and then preheat another.  Move it - parchment and all to the preheated one when ready - that way it would kind of maintain it's shape.  I thought I read somewhere that breads cooked on parchment need to have the paper removed shortly after putting in the oven, but I guess that's not true?  I know I've used parchment on other breads and not had a problem.

I have a friend who owns a donut shop and she gets me my parchment from her supplier.  1,000 large sheets (commercial pan size) for under $40.  I share it with my daughter - DIL and my daughter's MIL.  I won't live long enough to use it all  )-: since I also ordered 1K of the 8" rounds. Parchment is wonderful stuff.

My son also is into bread baking.  I just sent him a link to this site.  Expect to see some of his stuff soon. He has done a lot more experimenting than I.  We have a good time when we get together every month or so.

Thanks for all the input and information.  This has to be my favorite site!

PS:  My hubby loves the bread!  I made homemade Italian Beef and he's been devouring both over the last couple of days.



stevepaula0's picture

i'm not sure what you ment by rotating the loaf. do you meen turn it over?

gaaarp's picture

"Rotating" the loaf means to give it a 180 degree turn.  This is done so the bread bakes evenly, since mosts ovens are hotter in the back.  Also, if you are baking more than one loaf, it is common to switch them side to side (i.e., move the one on the right to the left, and vice versa).

dbareford's picture

Tried this recipe for the first time today. I glazed it with egg yolk rather than water, because I like a soft-crusted Italian bread and like the dark crust that the egg brings out. Here's a photo of the finished loaves:



(Sorry the detail isn't great on the crumb.)


What an awesome tasting bread! So soft and moist and wonderful! It makes a nice "presentation" bread for dining with guests. This recipe will definitely be a regular in my arsenal.


mitapierce's picture

What size pan do I need to use for this bread?

xaipete's picture

I think this is a free form, hearth loaf; no pan necessary. The item in the backof the picture is a casserole--at least that is what I make of it.


The Cats Other Mother's picture
The Cats Other ...

Italian loaf

These were my fifth try at bread baking, and my first free form loaves on a stone, and at several points I was sure I'd made a total botch up of it.  I made the preferment with the last of my Pillsbury Bread flour and the rest with Gold Medal Better for Bread(which seemed really coarse).  The dough was very sticky and hard to manage, despite adding a good deal of flour in kneading, and they stuck like mad to the bread board during shaping.  Also, I didn't think about how to get them from the boad to the stone until nearly time to bake, and I didn't have a peel or parchment, so I winged it. 

The loaves attatched a little where they touched, but they held their shape and rose well, and taste terrific.  Thanks for the recipe!

raisdbywolvz's picture

Floyd, or anyone who can answer this...  Life interfered today and I wasn't able to bake the loaf today.  Now my preferment is way past the 16 hour mark and I won't be able to use it until tomorrow.  I know I can refeed it, but I don't know the rules.  Do I do it now, or tomorrow?  How much do I remove, how much do I add back in, and when do I do it?

mrfrost's picture

No biggie. Start over. Seriously.

Next time, if possible, refrigerate within the given time range, if not using.

Far from an expert myself but I've seen this question asked several times at the King Arthur Flour blogs. I reckon it's because it will probably take about as much time and expense to refresh as it would to just reconstruct.

mrfrost's picture

Floyd do you weigh your flour? Have you ever?

Do you know the typical weight of a cup ap flour as you measure it? Do you think it closer to the 4.25 oz usda/KA specification, or the 5 oz per cup Cook's Illustrated method of  measuring?


lisamasten's picture

I made this bread and the texture is almost spongy no the soft tender of an Italian Bread.

What am I doing wrong? Help

Elagins's picture

Italian flours tend to use a higher component of soft wheat, which gives a much more cake-like crumb, even without enrichments. If you're using bread flour or high-gluten flour, go to something weaker.

Stan Ginsberg

lisamasten's picture

I used an all purpose flour. Suggestion for flour, please.

Elagins's picture

(and i can; let me know if you want some) you might try adding about 20% pastry flour to the AP.

Stan Ginsberg

Barngodess's picture

I made this today.,.. made the preferment last night and started mixing it all up early this morning. I am VERY pleased with it !!  I was worried it was getting too dark before the time was up, and it got a bit too dark in a couple spots on the bottom. I used cookie sheets though.,.. guess I need to be getting a stone , since I've really gotten excited about baking bread. Since I found this forum, I have started experimenting with the various recipes,,..... I'm very glad I found this forum, and thanks to everyone, for ALL the valuable input !




Petey's picture

Jabberwock's picture

3 cups of water/milk and 6 cups of flour. That makes for a 85% hydrated dough. It's not hard to see why people are having trouble with the wet dough.

michael p's picture
michael p

The pre-bake loaves were kind of flat which worried me but I set them into a 425 oven (I think mine runs hot ...) for 1 minute, then turned it to 400 for about 35-ish minutes.  They popped up real nice.  I don't want to cut this loaf right now b/c I'm bringing it to my sister's house tonight for dinner.

this will be garlic bread before the sun has set ...

00Eve00's picture

Hello everyone :) I'm brand new. This is a great site and I'm learning a lot.

I just made this bread today and it's very good.  My boyfriend has single handedly eaten half the loaf in a sitting. LOL

I did have the issue where the dough was extremely wet and ended up adding an additional 200g of flour.  Even after kneading it for quite a while, it was still very sticky and slack...but I didn't want to add anymore flour so I just crossed my fingers and let it rise.

It turned out rather well for my third loaf (I started baking for the first time last Friday).  The only thing I noticed was that my crumb is pretty dense (similar to sandwich bread) and I wondered if that was from over kneading the dough?  The bread as a whole was nice and soft with a chewy that was very good.

I would love to post pictures, but my camera needs batteries. :(

vandertoorn's picture
vandertoorn I have been making this bread since I found it. Have made about 20 Loaves now.

The dough is wet but I like it for that reason because it is easier to work with that way!

I add all of the preferment and the water and about 70% of the flour and other

ingredients and beat it with my mixer setting on 4 for 4 min. than I add the rest

of the flour and mix for another two min. sprinkle flour on dough with sieve and

let rest for 6 min. than with dough hook knead for 6 min. Let rest for six min. more

before letting the dough rest put a heavy topping of flour on top again. Than I

kneed an other 6 min checking half way through for slackness dough must be

stiff to do well! I follow the recipe except I do add 2 Tbls of ribeye lard that I get

from our local butcher. The finished product is moist and an excellent taste

good for sopping or toast and sandwiches !!

rolls's picture

hi, I've just made a batch of dough for this italian bread, I used the french fold method, and its having its first proof now.

I just wanted to ask, was it supposed to be a wet dough? coz mine wasn't (nothing like the 'my daily bread'),

also, it didn't take too long with the french fold method to come together. not sure if I'm on the right track?

also, there was slight tearing of the dough as I worked it, does this mean the dough is too dry?

mrfrost's picture

According to the recipe, the dough will be "slack", but not sticky.

If you read through the thread, some(many?) had quite wet doughs, but again, according to the recipe, keep adding flour(a little at a time), until it is no longer sticky.

rolls's picture

thank you for replying. yes, thats what got me confused, as so many experienced a really wet, hard-to-handle dough, but I didn't experience this.

I just remembered that when I added the flour, I forgot and added it all at once, could this be why, do you suppose? thanks

mrfrost's picture

That's the most likely explanation. Those must have been some pretty heavily loaded cups of flour. A cup of fluffed flour should only weigh about 4.5 oz or so.

As long as the dough was relatively soft, it'll likely be ok.

rolls's picture

Thanks now I jus feel so silly as I was thinking I followed the recipe exactly which I usually don't, I guess I didn't though, all that flour!

Well, I reached the pre-shape stage ( have never pre shaped ever) but have had to fridge it overnight as time didn't permit. Do u think this will affect the finished loaf in a good/ bad way? Do I shape immediately or does it have to get to room temp first? Sorry if asking too many questions. Thanks

rolls's picture

Thanks now I jus feel so silly as I was thinking I followed the recipe exactly which I usually don't, I guess I didn't though, all that flour!

Well, I reached the pre-shape stage ( have never pre shaped ever) but have had to fridge it overnight as time didn't permit. Do u think this will affect the finished loaf in a good/ bad way? Do I shape immediately or does it have to get to room temp first? Sorry if asking too many questions. Thanks

rolls's picture

Hi, love love love this bread! will definately be making over and over again.

took some pics with phone, have a crumb shot too! how do I upload? thanks :)

mrfrost's picture

Posting photos FAQ:

These steps from poster Debra Wink have also been said to be very helpful:"

1.Click on the tree symbol (next to HTML at the top of the comment box) and the Insert/edit image box will appear.
2.Click on the little symbol to the right of the Image URL field and the File Browser box will pop up.
3.Click on Upload at the top of this box, and a File field will appear.
4.Click on Browse to the right of the file field and the Chose File to Upload window will open.
5.Find and highlight the image file you wish to upload and click Open. This will take you back to the File Browser box.
6.Click the Upload button (right next to the Browse button).
7.Now the file should be listed in the file browser box. Click on it to highlight it, and then click Send to Editor at the top of this box. This will take you back to the Insert/edit image box.
8.Click Insert, and your image will appear in your edit window where your cursor was last positioned (but you'll have to use the preview feature to see how it will look in your posted message).
There is also a Help button in the top left corner of the File Browser box with tips and alternate ways to do things that you might find helpful."

rolls's picture

rolls's picture

thanks it worked, will try post more pics soon.

I baked from a cold oven, and thought it got good oven spring.

any comments? is this how the crumb is supposed to look?


northquabbin's picture

When using instant dry yeast I find that if you mix all the dry ingredients first ,   and then mix the salt in, this helps the rise. Doing this keeps most of the salt away from the yeast. For some reason instant dry yeast and salt does not work well togeather.

1ofTheGirls's picture

wow.. i'm a little intimidated by the photos submitted by the bakers in this forum.  at one time i declared myself a non-baker.  but i love being in the kitchen and learning new things.  so - i attempted this recipe today.  here are the results.... it's a work in progress and i'm not giving up!! used high-protein flour and the preferment.  i think that's a winner --- with a little more practice!!Italian Loaves

HoneyWholeWheat's picture

I just started this, and i have found that the dough is definately not slack. Any suggestions? I have already added water...

blairmartin92's picture

At first I thought it may be slightly to slack but turned out quite well.

michael p's picture
michael p

Probably the 4th or 5th time I've made this.  This time I mixed the dough in a bowl instead of trying to do most of the mixing on the countertop, and it made it so much easier, adding flour until it was slack, but not sticky (more or less) then turning it out to knead.  Before I tried kneading after just adding the two cups and kneading in the extra flour.  Yuck.

So I was in a bread mood this weekend: the half loaf (mmmmmmm.....) is this thread's Italian, with a salted top (I use sea salt run through a grinder, it's fantastic!); the rear seeded loaf is semolina Italian with sesame seeds;  and the front loaf is Italian with dusted top.

Bread Day

michael p's picture
michael p

I can't stop making this bread, or, apparently, posting to this thread..  I think I found the secret/s.  One, run the dishwasher while the dough is proofing, I get a fantastic, moist rise when I do this.  Two, it has to REALLY rise, as in, leave it alone and let it go wild. You can see how fluffy it got in the second pic.  This is my batch from the other day, a gift I made to a client.

The salted top is my fave for dipping in olive oil.  I just use a salt grinder from Trader Joes, gives a coarse grind.  Right before putting in the oven, I wet the top, grind some salt, and slice the top.

rolls's picture

gorgeous crumb :) have to make this again soon


Chase's picture

I love this recipe, but I'm wondering if there is a way to incorporate garlic or parmesan into the bread itself?  I have made breads before that I rolled out after the first proof , filled with garlic, herbs, and parmesan, then rolled up and allowed to proof an hour before baking.  Would something like that work with this recipe?

RuthieG's picture

I don't see any reason adding garlic or cheese wouldn't work for this could add them to the mix or as you said, after the proof.


I decided to make this recipe today (I've made it before too) and it turned out really good and is going to be on the  table tonight with redsauce/pasta and meatballs ....I tasted it earlier and it is delish...This is an easy recipe and so good.  I used my yeast water in the preferment that I made last night and I refreshed it this morning......I used Bread Flour and White Whole Wheat.....







teekay's picture

Hi I was wondering if I can make this bread without any type of milk?

Can I just omit it from the recipe or will it not turn out right?

Thanks -

Floydm's picture

Sure thing.  Go for it!

jhuang916's picture

Hi!  I made this bread tonight. 

The air bubbles aren't quite there.  I probably should let it rise a little longer before putting it into the oven.  Over all it tastes great!  I made 4 loaves out of it

The bread is absolutely delicious.  In my oven it only took 25 minutes baking time.  I used a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature and pulled it when it reached 200.

Thank you so much for the recipe!  -Jimmy

rolls's picture

made the preferment last night, and jus mixing it in the KA now. i kind've jus dumped everything in, wasn't reading recipe. and mix low speed on the mixer for 7 mins and got a very very wet dough. completely differrent to my first attempt. i guess i should jus add extra flour? i was going to try not to, but i think others have been doing this. any advice? thanks in advance :)

rolls's picture

Ended up dumping in a cup of flour. Still ended up with gorgeous dough! I love this recipe!! Loaves r in the oven and I actually got oven spring!! This hasn't happened in new oven yet. Very happy with this recipe 

cherub0110's picture

I made this bread today and it was so good! Ittasted exactly like the one we buy from Italian store or better. I made 1 loaf and 4 like a subway style bread for sandwiches. I will make more again.

gmabaking's picture

Or, what to do with a lazy bowl of sourdough starter? My regular starter was safely stored in the refrigerator and I was left with a 1/2 cup or so after making Silverton's Country White. Instead of discarding it I neglected it for a couple of days and then decided to try coaxing it back to health. It bubbled and frothed, developed thick stringy texture but never did double.

The good part of the story....

 I started with Floyd's Italian bread recipe: Used about two cups of pretty (but pathetic) sourdough instead of the overnight preferment. Added about 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives, 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil, and about 1 tablespoonful of fresh chopped rosemary. I drained/dried the olives and tomato as much as I could but there was still enough oil to make the dough a really pretty gold color (not the faded pink I expected). The taste is good, not the great texture and well developed flour as Silverton's Olive bread but for a one day bread, I am pleased.

embth's picture

I used Floyd's Italian bread recipe as a "springboard" for today's bread.  I used a whole wheat starter (12 oz), honey for the sweetener, and 1/2 cup of buttermilk to replace the dry milk.  For the white flour I used 75% 00 flour (leftover from summer pizzas in my brick oven) and 25% AP flour.

The crumb was wonderfully soft and flavorful.....the crust was crisp.   In the past I have only used my 00 flour for pizza and calzone.  It was amazing in this Italian bread.  Now I am wondering what else 00 flour can do.   
Happy Holidays to everyone, and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all!            embth 



doudou's picture

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe. I am on my second batch and the loaves are perfect!

I changed things a little bit... I did not have dry milk so I used 1 cup of half and half and one cup of water, also just added flour until the dough seemed right - my first batch was too sticky. I did the 475 for 20 seconds "shock" thing too and I didn't have a stone or cookie sheet, so I baked them on doubled up extra thick aluminum foil.

I live in the middle of nowhere, can't get fresh bread anywhere, thank heavens I found this recipe!

nofate's picture

I've been reading around here for a while on this site.  As a totally amatuer kitchen baker, I had no idea there was a site like this until a couple of months ago.  This is the first time I have "come out".  Good Italian bread is something my wife and I love and the best we know of commercially is at one of our favorite Italian restaraunts.  After baking through the majority of Crust and Crumb and then Bread Alone, and making and maintaining many different kinds of starters, I realized that I do not care for sourdough much. My wife informed me of her dislike long before I got through those books.  My "experiments" mainly went to work, where I have many willing guinea pigs.  I also became "spoiled" to the point that I can't eat store bought bread anymore - it tastes like cardboard.  Even though I say I don't care for sourdough, I would much prefer that than the pasty stuff on the grocery store shelves.     But we do love good Italian bread (yeasted), followed closely by good French Baguettes.  So I finally went back to what I love and began trying to create a really good everyday Italian bread.  (We also love good Rye and Whole Wheat, but that is another story).

Finally found a recipe at (, cut it in half, changed a few things, and finally came up with this:

Italian Bread









AP Flour
























Instant yeast








Butter or Olive Oil








Sour cream or Cream cheese







≈1 1/4c

Warm water







I shape into 2 long, round end "baguettes"? (to fit my oven, about 14 to 16")  I use an egg wash prior to slashing, followed by sprinkling heavily with raw sesame seed, then into a 500 deg. oven with a half cup of water for steam, drop temp to 450, bake for an internal temp of 190+ degrees (the time is very dependent on the size/thickness of the loaves).  I keep bags of the mixed dry ingredients in the freezer so I can pull a bag out, add the wet stuff and be done in a jiffy.

I also tend to lean to the wetter side and often go to 70% hydration (280g water=70%).  This can be tricky if you do not knead enough.  I use a Kitchen Aid Artisan and run it at a speed of 6 for 10 minutes.  The dough goes from very wet and sticky to silky smooth in the process, but is still very sticky to the touch once the mixer is stopped.  I dump it onto a very lightly floured counter and shape into a ball, spray oil the bowl and then ferment until doubled (about an hour), then shape.

This recipe tends to be very forgiving.  I often am in a hurry, so do not weigh, but just dump using volume measurements.  I have done it enough to be able to recognize when the dough is too wet or too dry due to the inherent inaccuracy of volme measurements.  When using the "volume dump" method, the dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl in 5 or 6 minutes.  There is still a small "foot" of dough grabbing at the very bottom of the bowl, but that has pulled away by the time I reach 10 min.

Once the dough has fermented for an hour and/or doubled in size, it is much less sticky and will not require much flour to handle.

If somone familiar with baker's percentages sees a problem with my formulas, please feel free to let me know about it.

I am looking forward to trying the frisage - rest - French fold - stretch and fold (I believe that is the correct order that was finally settled on) methods that I was reading about on the "Eye Opening Techniques" thread.  Also getting rid of the baking stones (quarry tiles) and no pre-heat.  I just started reading that yesterday and as it is Christmas, there is no time for frivolities like bread making.  I can't wait for the day after Christmas.  I'm going to bake a new batch of Italian bread, and at some point on Christmas day, I will fit starting a Poolish in so I can make a batch of JMonkey's "Bad Boy with Poolish"(") article baguettes.  I've made them twice now, and the second time, I only added a few grains of yeast to start the Poolish, so it had to go a full 16 hrs. to develop.  Added an egg wash to hold sesame seeds, and it was awesome - my wife thought the best baguettes yet - really great, full flavor.

Looking forward to trying more of these recipes and learning the techniques that are discussed.



carefreebaker's picture

I can make a great no knead and ciabatta but my family does not care for either the large holes or lean dough. 

I think this is the recipe I am looking for.  (Edited)..........

This is the recipe for my family, delicious.

cwbabcock's picture

I'm new here and I just tried this Italian Bread. It was right on the border of being sticky while I handled it. Probably used almost 7 cups of flour when all was said and done. Kept having to flour it to keep it from sticking to my hands.Don't know  how to insert photo or I would do so. Anyone have some advice of how to get it to not flatten out?


carefreebaker's picture

I noticed how slack my dough was so I beat it with first the paddle of my Kitchen Aid and then when it climbed up the paddle, I switched to the hook and beat it until formed a ball on the hook. That made the dough silky soft and manageable. I also folded the dough over itself while it was rising to help with gluten structure.  My bread ended up looking like the identical twin to the original photo posted.  I wrapped it in a linen tea towel and a pillow case. It had a nice chew to the crust and moist interior for 3 days. This recipe is a keeper.

Take a look at: A Lotta Ciabatta video on youtube. Her technique with the Kitchen Aid, is what I followed.



joeg214's picture

...I'd like to retard the fermentation of this finished dough overnight.  The plan is to let the pre-ferment go to about 7pm tonight (about 8 hours), mix the final dough and pop it in the fridge until 6am tomorrow morning.  I'll divide the dough, rest it for about an hour to warm up, then form into loaves and proof them about 40 min.  Then bake.  Any suggestions regarding timing? 



Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

I find loafing and then retarding the loaves works better.

Moreover, why obsess over "just baked bread"?  Just baked bread tends to be fragile and insipid in flavor.  Further, if this is for company, using a recipe you've never used with a rechnique you've never used is a recipe for dissappointment.  There's enough on your mind as you prepare for company, the bread just becomes an added aggravation.  Will it rise?  Will it be good?

You'll avoid a lot of aggravation if you bake the bread today and serve it tomorrrow - most breads taste better the second day in any case.


joeg214's picture

After doing the pre-ferment for  about 8 hours, I put together the dough later in the evening and let it retard overnight in the fridge.  I checked on it after an hour and it had almost doubled in size.  I punched it down, put it back in the fridge and went to bed.  Got up at 6am to find it at least doubled in size.  I divided the dough in half by weight, formed two balls, and let them rest covered for almost an hour (to warm up a bit).  I then formed the loaves (rather poorly since this is a bit on the sticky side) and let them proof for about 45 minutes.  After some nasty scoring (I need to work on scoring higher hydration doughs :) ), I popped both in the oven onto a pre-heated baking stone.  I was actually amazed at how well this turned out...  Brought both loaves to my mom's 96th birthday party (along with a sponge cake that was later topped with whipped cream and sliced peaches :) ).  The crust had a nice light crunch and the crumb was wonderful.  While chewy, it was incredibly "creamy"; it melted in the mouth and had a fantastic flavor.  The first loaf was gone in about 10 minutes along with quite a bit of butter :)  This is definately a keeper.  I'll never be able to go to another family get-together without bringing a couple of loaves of this one :)

mirella's picture

Hello, i would like to know how can i bake a regular white bread that do not crumble after a day or two. I like a bread that has many holes like the italian bread , but not hard and chewy like ciabatta. It should rise high and be soft  in the middle .    I also like a bread that when you break a piece the white part inside ( mollica in italian) can be pull apart in long strings ( similar to Panettone ) . I like to know if adding extra vital gluten will help with that or to achieve the many holes and strings has something to do with more kneading or other things.....

I am new at this ....I have no clue...I just bake a decent bread once a week , but i can't get the large holes inside.

Thanks, Mirella

LindyD's picture

Lots of questions - if you put "large holes" in the TFL search bar, that will take you to lots of conversations on how to achieve an open crumb in your bread.

As to a bread that pulls apart in long strings, something like this?

BTW, vital gluten is not the answer.  A good book on how to bake artisan breads and a scale, if you don't already have one, will be extremely helpful.

Happy exploring.

BreadChubby's picture

This recipe turned out great. I would post a picture but not sure hiw to on a comment! 

ScottyJM's picture

There is a icon on the header. It is square with what looks like a mountain on it. Click on it to add media.

Also when taking your pictures stand back about five feet and use the zoom. The picture will come out way better, even the crumb picture will come out better.

DukeisaDuck_ftcchef's picture

Can you freeze the dough after the final rise or do you freeze it before the last rise and let it defrost in the fridge or on the counter before final baking in the oven?  I had purchased frozen bread from the grocery store and it said to defrost in the fridge/counter til it rises and then bake in the preheated oven.  I want to make more then one or two loaves of bread, but was not sure what is the best way to freeze the bread...unbaked or baked.  If anyone has froze bread, what is the best why, Thanks for sharing your advice.


skatefriday's picture

The dough was very wet.  The shape ended up being more ciabatta, but it ballooned nicely in the oven once I managed to get it off the pizza peel that I let it proof on.  Ended up welding itself even though I used cornmeal. I did the preferment for at least 2 hours and omitted the milk, no substitution, as I don't have any of that on hand.

When kneading wet doughs I can deal with the sticky hands, but is there any surface that works any better than any other for not sticking to the counter?  I have older formica countertops.  Need a new kitchen. :-)

skatefriday's picture

Update. Moderately open crumb, chewy crust, and no yeasty sour flavor.  Very nice.  Compares favorably to a loaf that I buy from Trader Joes regularly.

Sticky's picture

Pure beginner but somehow with the vast amount of help from other's comments and adding 1 more C of flour I made it through and the bread is delightful. Can't wait to try it again. Got a lot to learn but so rewarding.

I scalded milk for the dry milk and used Carnation Malted Milk for the malt flavor. Rise was robust all the way.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

What a novel idea!   :)

chet_brewer's picture

This is the first recipe I have tried off of here, I made a few modifications, used 2 cups of skim milk instead of water and milk powder and 1 t of yeast since I mixed the dough the night before and let it rise overnight in a cool place, kept all ingredients cold to retard the rise some. The dough was nicely doubled or so by 7 AM and shaped the loaves and let them rise a little over an hour in the oven with the light on. Preheated the oven to 550 and then put the bread in and with steam and reduced temp to 425. Nice spring and crust, pretty soft crumb, good flavor similar to an italian bread made with a lot of biga.

macian49's picture

I am male age 71, and have been baking bread for many years. This is the best, most tasty bread i have had in my life. I followed the recipe to the letter. Thank you so much.

Sal2011229's picture

This will be a steam kit that will be available soon for the bakers pride oven and blodgett any more info please email me at thank you

PaulaS-C's picture

Can I make this with starter instead? 

taurus430's picture

I saw this recipe a few years back but never made it. It's when I started doing Lahey's no knead bread. From reading the comments about how wet the dough is, I believe this recipe can be converted to a no knead with doing stretch & folds. What are your thoughts? I don't use a mixer. I do breads by hand or use a bread machine, dough cycle Only.

JTB's picture

yes quite easily this can be  done in the style of Jim Lahey. Go for it.

JTB's picture

interesting that today I would come across this post. Just yesterday in a group on facebook someone asked if this book was any good. I bought this book well over 25 years ago, I have read it numerous times the way many read novels. I love this book and find it very adaptable to the newer methods and developments. I have converted many of the formulas to artisan style breads and met with great success.

albyJP's picture

The second try

Dear Floydm, thank you very much indeed for shearing this recipe.

I am new at hand-bread making, but with your recepie I found myself with hands in the dough for the second time, and it taste better than the first!

This time I even forgot to add sugar and it came out like a real Italian ciabatta.

Many thnx to all of you, it was educational to read all these comments.

funkyspacecowboy's picture

I used this recipe as the basis for the best dinner rolls I've ever made today! 

I went with a 50/50 whole milk and water mix instead of water & powdered milk, used dark brown sugar for the sugar.

For the preparation I followed the recipe as written up to the shaping stage, and divided into 16 more or less equal pieces of dough, which I then shaped into sort of batards, about three inches long, inch and half wide. Sprayed with oil, covered in plastic and let proof for an hour. 

For baking I setup for steaming the oven and started at 450F, and after three water spritz cycles (30 seconds apart) knocked it back to 425F and baked for 12 minutes, rotated, baked for 12 more minutes. They came out just over 200F internal temp. 

I got a nice chewie crust and a soft, spongy crumb perfect for mopping up gravy. Very very very happy with the results. Oh and a very rich, slightly nutty taste to the bread thanks to the large, long preferment. This is great compromise between my love of crusty, rustic breads and normal people just wanting a soft roll for gravy and butter at Thanksgiving! 


Shantino's picture

Baked at 350 in a convection oven for 30 mins with steam. May try 400 next time to get a harder crust. Any comments are welcome.