The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

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

Italian 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.

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!

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.


Dale's picture

i also always make extra loaves to freeze... I use the Saran style wrap from Costco, it allows you to tightly wrap the loaf with no air. I then place in a freezer bag, which can be reused

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!

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.

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.

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.



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

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!


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.

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

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) 

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!

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.



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?


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

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. :(

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

Kathy M's picture
Kathy M

What brand flour and type did you use and what kind of malt ? That crumb is amazing. Did you do the recipe as written?


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?


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


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.....







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 



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.

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 :)

BreadChubby's picture

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

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!   :)

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.