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Easy Homemade Rustic Crusty Italian Bread Recipe

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There’s something truly satisfying about sinking your teeth into a slice of homemade rustic crusty Italian bread! You will love its crisp crust and tender crumb. The aroma that fills the kitchen as it bakes is simply irresistible. 

This is an easy-to-follow recipe. We’ll guide you through the process of creating the most delicious loaf of homemade rustic crusty Italian bread! You can make it right in your own home. With simple ingredients and a little bit of patience, you’ll be rewarded with a homemade bread. Your bread will rival the best Italian bakeries! 

So, let’s roll up our sleeves, gather our ingredients, and embark on a baking adventure!

Preparation Time: 

2 hours Baking 

Time: 30-40 minutes 

Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes 

Serving Size: 1 large loaf

Two loaves of small rustic crusty Italian bread with a wedge of cheesePin

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Additional flour for dusting
Two loaves of small rustic crusty Italian bread with a wedge of cheesePin

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, all-purpose flour, instant yeast, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the warm water and olive oil. Mix everything together until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for this step.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a large bowl greased with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
One loaf of small rustic crusty Italian bread with a wedge of cheese and a bowl of granolaPin

Time To Bake

  • Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). If you have a pizza stone or baking stone, place it on the middle rack of the oven to preheat.
  • Punch down the risen dough to release any air bubbles. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape it into your desired loaf shape. You can make a round loaf or a long baguette-style loaf.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or dust it with flour to prevent sticking. Place the shaped dough on the prepared baking sheet.
Two loaves of small rustic crusty Italian bread on a cutting board with two cheese wedges and a wooden spoon.Pin
  • If using a pizza stone, transfer the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Place it on a pizza peel or an inverted baking sheet for easy transfer to the hot stone.
  • Use a sharp knife or a razor blade to make shallow slashes on the top of the dough. This will allow the bread to expand and form a beautiful crust during baking.
  • For a crisp crust, create steam in the oven. Place a cast iron skillet or a baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven. Fill it with hot water just before you put the bread in.
  • Transfer the baking sheet with the dough to the preheated oven (or slide the parchment paper with the dough onto the hot pizza stone). Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and has a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.
  • Remove the rustic crusty Italian bread from the oven. Let it cool on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes. Now you can slice it. This will help the bread retain its structure and develop a crispy crust.
  • Once cooled, slice and enjoy the rustic Italian bread. You can try it with your favorite spreads or use it as the perfect base for sandwiches.
Two loaves of small rustic crusty Italian bread on a cutting board with two cheese wedges on a cheeseboard and a bowl of granola.Pin

Tips and Variations For Crusty Italian Bread

  • Experiment with different types of flour to add flavor and texture variations to your bread. You can substitute some of the bread flour with whole wheat flour. You can also try using a low hydration sourdough starter for a tangy twist.
  • For a more rustic appearance and a chewier texture, bake the bread in a cast iron Dutch oven. Preheat the Dutch oven in the oven along with the pizza stone. Then transfer the shaped dough into the hot Dutch oven using oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves.
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  • To keep your rustic crusty Italian bread fresh for a longer time, store it in a paper bag. You can also wrap it loosely in a clean tea towel. Avoid storing it in a plastic bag as it may cause the crust to become soft and mold faster.

With this simple and delicious rustic Italian bread recipe, you can experience the joy of baking your own homemade bread. The combination of crusty exterior and soft interior makes it the perfect bread for enjoying fresh out of the oven! Now, you can also use as a base for sandwiches. 

The best part? You have full control over the ingredients, ensuring a high-quality and flavorful end result. So, roll up your sleeves, get your hands doughy, and indulge in the hard work that pays off! Every bite of this mouthwatering rustic Italian bread will be delightful.

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