Rustic Italian Crusty Bread Recipe Video

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Easy and quick artisan Italian rustic crusty bread at home, no knead, no machine, no dutch oven, with only 2 hour rise time. Made by hand with active dry instant yeast, flour and water then baked on a hot pizza stone.

Rustic Italian Crusty Bread on a Wooden Table

Artisan Italian Crusty Bread Recipe

I made us the perfect bread for soups, stews, bruschetta and to use for sandwiches / panini all week long.

A spin on my Italian pizza dough recipe, except here i use warm water to make the bread. Just mix together flour, salt and instant yeast then let rise for 2 hours. Only 2 hours for perfect homemade bread you guys!

Then you bake it on a preheated pizza stone (<–amazon), for a peasant style loaf that crackles in your hands like a dream, yet still soft on the inside. Perfect for dipping or to dunk into a hot bowl of vegetable soup.

Rustic Italian Crusty Bread with Olive Oil

  • A good homemade bread will have a soft, fluffy center with big holes and a crust that crackles in your hand with even a gentle squeeze. It’s very important to not overwork the dough if you are looking for airy holes in your bread like the ones in the photo above.
  • Avoid the temptation to add more flour, simply dump the dough out of the bowl you mixed it in and shape into a loaf. No Kneading Allowed!
  • I swear there’s nothing like the magic of a pizza stone, however you could also bake it inside a cast iron skillet or dutch oven if you really wanted to.

Homemade Rustic Crusty Bread Loaf

How to Serve and Eat Crusty Bread

Rustic Crusty Bread Slices with Holes

What makes the bread crusty?

The secret is a  bowl of water steaming under the pizza stone while the bread is baking. The steam makes a crusty loaf!

How to Store

Allow the loaf  to cool off completely on a cooling rack on its side. Place it in a plastic bag and store on the kitchen counter at room temperature for a couple of days. I would not recommend freezing this kind of bread, instead if you find yourself with a stale chunk simply do as the Italian do: make a big pot of Ribollita or this Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro soup.

Homemade Artisan Crusty Bread

Rustic Crusty Italian Bread Recipe Video

Rustic Crusty Bread Recipe
4.89 from 92 votes

Rustic Italian Crusty Bread Recipe

Easy and quick artisan Italian crusty bread recipe you can make at home. No knead, no machine, with only 2 hour rise time. Made with instant or active dry instant yeast, flour and water and baked on a hot pizza stone.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:40 minutes
Total Time:45 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl or your kitchen aid mixer add the flour, salt and yeast. Use a spatula or the paddle attachment and mix to combine well.
    3.25 cups all purpose flour, 2 tsp instant yeast, 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pour in the warm water and keep mixing until everything is incorporated and a soft dough has formed. It will still stick to the bottom of the bowl and that is OK. 
    1.5 cups warm water
  • Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap loosely and a tea towel. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours until doubled in size.
  • Sprinkle some flour on your kitchen counter and dump the bread dough on it. Flour your hands to help it out of the bowl as it will be sticky. Don't panic, this is normal.
  • With floured hands fold the dough onto itself forming it into a round ball. Do not knead it, do not handle it anymore than you need to. Use a sharp knife and lightly carve an X in the top of the loaf or just make a few cuts across.
  • Place the bread dough on top of a lightly floured pizza peel, cardboard or parchment paper and allow it to rest while your oven is heating up.
  • Preheat your oven to 450”F with a pizza stone inside for about 45 minutes before baking the bread. Fill an oven proof bowl with 2 inches of water and place it on the bottom rack. This will create the steam that will cause the crust to become crispy as it bakes. 
  • Once your oven is hot sprinkle the pizza stone with some semolina flour or corn meal and carefully slide the bread loaf on top. Bake the bread for about 30 to 45 minutes until golden brown all over and cooked through.
  • Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and allow to cool off completely before slicing into it. You can also let it cool inside the oven with the door slightly open.

Dutch Oven Method

  • Instead of a pizza stone preheat your oven with a dutch oven inside. Once hot, carefully place the bread loaf inside the dutch oven ideally using parchment paper for easy transfer. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 5 minutes until golden brown on top. Remove the bread from the dutch oven and transfer to a cooling rack or it won't stay crispy.

Original Large Loaf Recipe:

  • Ingredients:
    1 package instant dry yeast (1/4 oz)
    6.25 cups all purpose flour + more for dusting
    2 tsp sea salt
    3 cups warm water.
    Large Loaf Italian Bread
  • Instructions: Follow the above instructions and bake at 450"F for 45 minutes.
    Italian Large Bread Loaf

Video

Notes

  • Adaptation Jan. 2021 - because some people were having trouble working with a large loaf, I adapted the recipe to make a smaller loaf that is easier to handle and that will cook evenly even without a pizza stone. Those of you more experienced bakers with a pizza stone or a bread/ pizza oven feel free to double the recipe and make a huge rustic loaf out of this.
  • Water dish - make sure you don't forget to add the dish with water in the oven to create steam If you are after an extra crusty loaf!
  • Parchment paper - If using parchment paper make sure to check the box for the max temperature it can safely be used in.
  • Keep it Crusty - make sure to allow your loaf to cool off completely on a high cooling rack so the moisture can escape through the bottom while the crust stays crispy. Alternatively allow the loaf to cool off on a rack inside the oven with door slightly open. (remove from dutch oven and discard parchment paper first).

Nutrition

Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Baked Goods
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bread
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 195kcal
Author: Florentina

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354 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow delicious and crusty. Had to use the Dutch oven method and it worked perfectly the first time. Only one problem, we want to eat the entire loaf. Thanks

  2. I’m definitely going to try this recipe as what they sell in stores as so-called Italian bread is a joke. Originally I’m from upstate New York and we had real bakeries that made the Crusty Italian bread. I also am having a hard time finding the video. I’ve clicked on every link that supposedly takes you to the video and nothing happens. Can you please provide it, either in the post or by emailing me? Thank you.

      1. Thanks, Florentino, and I did see above the recipe card where it shows it. Nothing happens. There is no play button! Oh well, I really don’t need the video. I was just curious. I looked everywhere on the entire page and anytime it said video anywhere, I tried to click on it as there was no play button so I figured it was just a link. I would send you a picture but I can’t include it here. Thanks anyway.

        1. Hi Cat, I am not sure why you are experiencing this issue, there is a big triangle in the middle of the video which is the Play button. If you would email me a screenshot of the video player above the recipe card I would be glad to send it over to the ad team and trouble shoot this for you. Meanwhile have you cleared your cookies? It could be a cache issue…. “CiaoFlorentina@gmail”

  3. The description says the recipe uses “active dry instant yeast” and the recipe says active dry. So is it active dry yeast or is it instant yeast?

    1. Hi Matt! You can use instant yeast or active dry, I’ve been using both in making this bread and the pizza dough. There was a time not too long ago when people could not find instant yeast so I suggested active dry. Instant yeast seems to work faster and always reliable, the active dry could take a little longer especially in colder climates.

  4. 3 stars
    This was delicious but I had difficulty. Converted to metric and was unable to shape it. The dough was basically a puddle that I was unable to pick up, let alone shape.

    1. Hi Mark, I created this recipe measuring in cups, I scoop deeply into the flour sack and level the measuring cup. The metric system is just a calculator in the recipe card which automatically converts for you but it isn’t accurate in my opinion. That explains the issue you had, the dough needed more flour. Please watch the video tutorial so you can see what the dough should look like at different stages. Alternatively please try this homemade Spelt Bread next time using cups 🙂 https://ciaoflorentina.com/homemade-spelt-bread-recipe/

  5. I made this twice. I am a good baker but this receipt is giving me problems. I do a 2 hour Rt ferment then a 12 hour Cold Ferment. When I cook, the outer crust looks amazing fills the 7 qt cast iron pot but it’s like a huge bubble and the inside is flat a 1 inch bottom with a big crust bubble. I do not kneed. Dump out of the bowl, make it a bit round and put in the pot.

    1. Hi Tim! After the 12 hour cold ferment, what was the next step? Did you bring the dough to room temperature for at least an hour or 2 for the gluten strands to spring up? Also did you score the dough before baking? Scoring the top will basically tell the dough to rise up in that direction.

  6. Hi Florentina,
    My daughter has made this bread several times in a Dutch oven. It always tends to come out dense. If I make it in a cast iron skillet do I have to do the same as the Dutch oven: use parchment paper and cover it?
    Thank you for your wonderful gift of making beautiful bread!!
    Gina D

    1. Hi Gina, overworking the dough and /or adding too much flour will result in a dense loaf. If you haven’t already please watch the video embedded above the recipe card for the step by step and how things should be looking at different stages of the process. If using a cast iron skillet you don’t have to cover, the idea is to use it instead of a pizza stone. The parchment paper helps with transfer if you aren’t comfortable handling the dough and safely drooping it in the hot skillet. If using parchment just make sure to remove it once the bread is done to allow moisture to escape so the crust stays crispy. Best to set it on its side on a cooling rack until cooled. Let me know how it goes on the next try 🙂 ~ Florentina

  7. 5 stars
    First time bread baker–so a lot to learn. I don’t see a link to a video, so I went by the recipe. The bread did not brown at all, so I am sure I overcooked it waiting on the browning (baked for 45 mins). Inside is soft and tastes ok, but the crust is hard as a brick and almost impossible to slice. Any advice for next time?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Jill! It sounds like the dough was overworked probably during the shaping of the bread, and / or too much flour was used. There is a video right above the recipe card where you can replay the how to video for the bread and see the steps in detail.How is your oven temperature…? Is it calibrated correctly…? It could be that the temperature could have been off if you say the bread did not brown at all…

  8. 5 stars
    Made this bread today and it turned out great and so easy to make. This is definetely a keeper. Highly recommend you try it.I made the smaller version.

  9. Hi Florentina,

    Such a great recipe – it has never let me down. I have two questions:

    1) Can the dough proof overnight so I can bake it in the morning, or is it strictly 2-3 hours?
    2) Am I able to add olives to the bread? If so, at what point can I do so?

    Grazie!

    1. Yes and Yes! If you allow to proof overnight you might need to sprinkle in a little extra flour around the sides of the bowl before dumping the dough and shaping the final loaf. If adding olives make sure they are sliced and add them at the very start so they get mixed in evenly. Enjoy!

  10. 5 stars
    This is the bread I will always make now! I travel for work, living in hotels with kitchens at least 10 months out of the year. I cook every day, mostly Italian recipes. I followed these instructions completely, using my cast iron skillet and the bread came out PERFECT! Crunchy outside, soft inside. Quick, easy, no additional ingredients required. LOVE IT!

  11. Hi Florentina. I’ve been baking bread for over 30 years now and I always like to try new recipes. I have to say that I got confused while reading your recipe. In your introduction you say that it is made by hand with Active Dry Instant yeast.and in the ingredients list it says active dry yeast. I have packs of Active Dry Yeast and Quick-rise Instant Yeast. Which one should I use?

    1. Susie, you can really use whichever, I’ve had great success with both, lately I’ve been using the active dry which I purchased in bulk last year.

    1. The stone heats up with the oven. You can form your bread on a piece of parchment paper and carefully transfer that to the hot pizza stone inside of the oven, this will be the easiest way for the first time. If using a piece of cardboard or pizza peel you must sprinkle it well with flour or cornmeal before placing your formed bread on top, then give it a little shake to slide onto the pizza stone inside your oven just like you would do with a pizza. Hope that helps!

  12. I made this bread a few times and I love it. I like to add other ingredients to make it a seasoned bread, like rosemary and olive oil. Can you give any advice at what step in the recipe would you add these ingredients?

    I’ve only tried it with chocolate chunks and I did it in the kneading process. Do you think this was the best approach to get the added ingredients spread evenly throughout? If I added the chocolate in the rising process would it affect the rising?

  13. Hi. Followed recipe exactly and all went well up until I had to slide it off parchment paper onto pizza stone. It was sticking to parchment paper terribly. As a result It lost its shape and got a bit flatter the more I tried to get it off paper. Should I have just put it on pizza stone with parchment paper? It turned out quite well in the end, except for the shape. It was my very first time making bread and I was very proud of myself. Very easy recipe. Thank you!

    1. Hi Rosemarie! It’s important to flour even the parchment paper well or sprinkle with semolina if you are going to slide the loaf onto the pizza stone. It’s easier to just place it with the parchment paper but make sure to check the safety temperature of your parchment paper. Now to make sure your loaf stays crispy you will have to remove the paper from the bottom of the bread once baked so the steam can escape. You can at this point put the loaf back in the oven on a rack with the door slightly open, or transfer to a high cooling rack on the counter, again after removing the parchment paper. Otherwise it will trap the moisture and the loaf won’t stay crispy for very long. You will be a pro the next time you make it ~ Florentina Xo’s

      1. Can you use a mix of semolina and all purpose flour for this recipe? If so how much semolina should you use? Any info would be appreciated

  14. One question: if you use the cast iron pot version, do you still use the water bath in the bottom of the oven or do you skip that?

    Also, we live in central Colorado (elevation 5400′ or so) and I find that (in a similar recipe) baking it for 30 minutes covered and then 13 minutes uncovered works best.

  15. Greetings from Finland. Just did this Crusty bread and it was absolutely delicious. I had to change measurements for ours (dl and gr) but it was easy. I did in cast iron pot and it worked perfectly. Thanks for shearing this resipe, m going to do this bread many times more. Best regards from snowy Finland.

  16. Despite the many comments already I still want to add my gratitude for sharing this amazing recipe. It works very well with the Dutch oven method. I am not a good baker but so far I only got delicious bread with your recipe and everybody loves to eat my bread now. Thank you so much!

  17. 4 stars
    This bread has a lovely texture and crust. My husband was hovering around waiting to taste fresh warm bread. It’s pretty good but not as flavorful as I expected. .

  18. Hi! Your recipe looks simple and wonderful. Can whole wheat flour be used instead, for a “healthier” version, or will that mess up the texture?

    1. Whole wheat flour would certainly mess up the texture. You could however go half and half and still end up with a decent loaf, more dense but still nice. I would not do 100% whole wheat with this recipe.

  19. Definitely going to try your recipe, Florentina. Just one question….the figure of 369 calories – is that for each slice !!!!!! If so, that seems very high…..

  20. I love cooking but I have not baked any bread. Your recipe was great! I’ve made it twice now. My only problem is that it seems dense. I can’t get the nice air bubbles in the bread 🙁 Maybe i’m working too much? My mom made the best bread. I’m trying to make it like she did.

    1. Hey Mario, sounds like you might be overworking the dough a little during the shaping process. So next time after you shape your loaf and it’s ready to go in the oven just let it rest at room temperature another 20 minutes or so. Let me know if that makes a difference ~ Florentina