Crusty Italian Bread

Donna Roth Recipe

By Donna Roth LuvnMom


Found this tonight on a site called: The recipe sounds promising, & the pic is from their website. I recommend checking out the website as well as the recipe, it's full of pics and a couple of videos.

pinch tips: How to Cut Avocado (Like a Pro)


1 pkg
(1/4 ounce, 2-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 1/4 c
warm water (105°-115°)
3 c
unbleached or all-purpose flour
2 tsp
1 tsp
1 Tbsp
olive oil
cornmeal for dusting

Directions Step-By-Step

Dissolve the yeast in a quarter-cup of warm water. You should actually check the temperature of the water. Too cold and it won’t activate, too hot and you can kill the yeast.
Give the yeast a few minutes, until it starts bubbling, then mix it in with the rest of the warm water.
Add the flour, sugar and salt and stir.
Don’t add the oil until after you’ve worked the water and flour together. Otherwise the oil will coat the proteins and prevent gluten formation. Gluten lets the dough stretch when it rises, making it light and chewy instead of crumbling like cake.
After mixing the oil in, turn the dough out onto a clean, floured surface to knead.
Stretch the dough away from you, fold it back, turn a quarter turn and repeat. Once the dough is well incorporated, slap it on the surface a few times. This will encourage more gluten production leading to a lighter, airier bread.
When the dough is smooth and silky, continue kneading for another several minutes. You can work it with both hands and keep turning the dough, or just hit it from opposite angles with each hand.
Once the dough is thoroughly kneaded, place it in an oiled bowl. Toss the dough around so it is coated with oil all the way around.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap, pressed right up against the dough. This will prevent a skin from forming on the dough, allowing it to rise more.
Put the bowl someplace warm until the dough has doubled in size, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 425°. If you have a pizza stone, put it on the bottom rack. Otherwise, place a baking sheet upside-down on the bottom rack.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and punch down to knock out most of the air out. Don’t go crazy and try to turn it into a pancake. Just give it a quick couple of hits.
Roll the dough out into a loaf shape and cut it in half. You can form the halves into loaves or, like I did here, divide each half into three smaller pieces.
Roll out the pieces of dough until they are about 6-9 inches long.
If you have a peel (the large wooden spatula you see in pizza shops) use that. If not, a wooden cutting board will work. Dust it with cornmeal so the dough doesn’t stick.
Cover the loaves with plastic and allow to rise for another 40 minutes. They should roughly double in width.
Cut each loaf down the middle with the sharpest blade you have. If you don’t have anything that is absolutely razor sharp, use a razor blade. You want to cut about a quarter-inch deep in a single quick stroke without sawing back-and-forth. This will prevent the bread from bursting open when it rises in the oven.
Transfer the loaves onto the baking stone. Leave room between loaves for them to rise some more.

If they don’t all fit on your stone, put the rest on an upside-down baking sheet.
Bake at 425° for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400° and bake another 25-30 minutes. To check if they’re done, pick one loaf up and thump on the bottom with your thumb. If it has a hollow sound, it’s done.

If you want really crusty bread, great for dipping in olive oil or marinara sauce, place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. The steam will keep a skin from forming too fast, giving the bread more time to rise. It will also make the crust crisper.

Don’t put the loaves near the top. The radiant heat from the top of the stove will brown the crust too much, too fast.

Serve immediately with butter, or with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Other Breads

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Donna Roth LuvnMom
Jan 4, 2011
I'm hoping I don't get a nasty-gram... the pic is from their website. I tried multiple times to take it off, changed my mind about having their pic up, but everytime I tried to "delete current pic" JAP would freeze up...I'd have to refresh the page or close the page to be able to move on. After the weather clears up better here I will try the recipe and post my own photo.
Jan 4, 2011 - Donna Roth shared this recipe with discussion groups: Bakers Arise! Italian Bread Quest Looking for...
karola cavagna karolab
Jan 4, 2011
how long do you cook it? does not say. thanks
karola cavagna karolab
Jan 4, 2011
never mind.. read the rest of it. lol. silly me...
Bea L. BeachChic
Jan 4, 2011
Oh wow, Donna, I'll try this at some point. Sounds like a challenge. I enjoy working with bread.
Heidi Hoerman heidicookssupper
Jan 4, 2011
I think I will apply some of those recommendations to Bread started from a "biga", e.g. having the plastic wrap close to the ball and using the baking tiles on the bottom shelf, and see what happens. I'll put a biga together tonight and cook the bread tomorrow.
john twardowski johnnyt
Mar 29, 2012
a lotta work but but if it gives you a bread like that picture is worth it.. ill let you know..
Heidi Hoerman heidicookssupper
Mar 29, 2012
John, I've learned a lot since I commented above. There are easier ways to get a good crust. Even no-knead bread can get a good chewy crust. Chewiness depends on gluten development which is mostly a factor of the flour you start with and the amount of time and/or manipulation you use to develop the gluten. The crust is also affected by the hydration of the bread, steam in the oven, and temperature of the bake. Most of the time, I use the stretch-and-fold method, instructions for which are here: Heavenly Hard Rolls. There are also lots of videos around the web, which is how I learned to do it.
eric oz nylaflour
Dec 29, 2013
when or make bread or pastry make sure you r flour is non GMO flour
i want to inform you guys GMO products make CANCER,if you buy your bread from bakery ask them what type flour they use , mostly bakeries they use BROMATED FLOUR (that type flour prohibited in all Europe countries , Australia, Canada even Saudi arabia
Joe Calderone Tbird7090
Oct 31, 2014
I've been baking bread since I was a kid & have had all kinds of success with Italian bread but this is the first recipe that I could follow to the letter with no eye or feel for it's progress.
Thanks for the tip on holding the olive oil back for a while. I let the dough knead a few minutes in the mixer before adding then I let it knead a good 10 min. put in a small oiled bowl just big enough for it to barely double & covered with oiled plastic wrap & took it out 12 hrs later. Let it sit for 2 hours uncovered at room temp. turned into a larger bowl & continued as instructed.

I simply put a very large lasagna pan full of boiling water on the floor of the oven as I always do when I let dough rise then left it in for the baking, giving the oven a brief blast of heat for a minute at the start then again about half way through just to barely warm it & continue the rise for the remaining hour.
Once formed I let it rise another 45 minutes.

Just great.

The proportions & the method laid out worked absolutely perfect.
I used King Arthur Bread Flour - that's all I can add. Came out so well I almost feel like it's not believable as home made.

If you're looking for a plain white non-semolina flour Italian loaf this really is it. Excellent.