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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Italian Bread

This classic loaf has a crisp crust, a moist crumb, and a fruity olive oil fragrance.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: bread
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bread, easy, homemade

Ingredients

  • 2 cups/470ml warm (105-115°F) water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups/728g bread flour
  • vegetable spray or olive oil for greasing the proofing bowl
  • 1 egg white, for glazing
  • Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Tip 1 cup/235ml of the water into the bowl of a standing mixer. Whisk in the yeast and sugar. Let proof (i.e., turn foamy) for 5-10 minutes if you're not sure your yeast is good. Then whisk in the remaining water, plus the olive oil and salt. Add the bread flour. Use the mixer's dough hook attachment to mix and knead the dough at low speed for 2 minutes. Then turn off the machine, and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Continue kneading at low speed until a fairly smooth dough develops -- about 7 minutes.
  • Scrape the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface. Knead by hand until the dough feel very smooth -- about 1 minute.
  • Form the dough into a ball, place it in a large, lightly greased mixing bowl (you can use the original mixing bowl if you wash, dry, and grease it first), and flip to grease the other side. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let the dough rest until doubled in volume -- 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Deflate the dough, and then turn it onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat the dough into an oval shape, and then roll it up into a short, fat loaf, or "batard." Transfer the loaf to a parchment lined baking sheet, cover it loosely with cling wrap, and let rest until doubled in volume -- about 30 minutes. After 15 minutes have passed, center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Put the egg white in a small bowl, and whisk it until it turns slightly foamy. Brush all of the white over the fully-risen loaf. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with sesame seeds.
  • Bake in the preheated 425°F until the bread colors deeply, and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with the fingers -- 30-40 minutes. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and let it cool completely before slicing.