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 90 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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342 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious and so easy for a beginner like me.
    I didn’t end up with as many holes as the video, is there any tips and tricks to get this? Maybe I didn’t bake long enough or over kneaded?

  2. 5 stars
    I tried this the other day because I was looking for a short rise time and you got it right. The bread was perfect. Thank you.

  3. I typically make the full-on kneaded time-consuming fussy bread, but i thought i’d give this a shot since my youngest loves “chewy inside with hard outside” bread… I could NOT believe how easy it was and how delicious it tasted. My whole family loved it. Thank you!

  4. The recipe said to use active dry yeast, but you added it to other ingredients like an instant yeast. I thought active dry had to be proofed first. Which should it be? Thanks.

    1. Hi Kathy, I recommend using instant yeast if available as I found out it is the most reliable of all. People have had issues with active dry in the past so I stopped suggesting that one a while back. Enjoy the bread Xo’s ~ Florentina

  5. 5 stars
    Unbelievably easy. Turned out perfect! Love being able to make fresh bread without having to plan ahead. Definitely adding this to my “Make Again” collection. (Also, this is literally the first review I have EVER left online. It turned out *that good*)

  6. I made this bread yesterday and it came out exactly as shown. I was disappointed that it did not taste as good as the one in the local super market bakery. Today I double toasted a slice in the toaster. To my surprise it tasted just like an English muffin. It was delicious.

    1. No need for the steam bath when using a dutch oven as the lid traps the steam inside the pot. Alternatively you can just splash the loaf with a little cold water to encourage stem formation. Enjoy! ~ Florentina

      1. Thank you! It came out a little more dense than I was expecting it to. Still turned out to be a beautiful and tasteful loaf of bread. My husband and sons love it.

        1. Hi Linley, so glad you all enjoyed the bread. The density usually happens if the dough is overworked a bit, it can happen to anyone but for the future try giving it some extra time for the gluten strands to bounce back after shaping the loaf. After a while you will be able to get a natural feel and eye for when the dough is just ready to be popped in the oven. Hey, have you tried my Spelt Bread yet? This process is a little longer but still easy and the loaf has more epersonality https://ciaoflorentina.com/homemade-spelt-bread-recipe/

  7. I made this recipe yesterday and agree with a lot of the comments on here, the dough was very wet. I think the reason why the dough gets over-handled is because when you have to fold it onto itself in order to shape into a ball, for me anyway, the dough would not hold the ball shape and would keep flattening out like a pancake. I cooked the dough in a Dutch oven as I don’t have a pizza stone. The bread turned out moist, spongy and soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Although it looked dense, it was very spongy and soft and beautiful to eat with butter. I will be making this again, I’m happy with how it turned out and was super easy to make. My husband wants to watch me make it next time so he can learn too. Thank you for this recipe 🙂

    1. Hey, sounds like you may have overworked the dough during shaping. If this happens make sure to give it plenty of time to rest and the gluten strands to bounce back before baking. Watch the video and check comments for more tips in achieving the best bread next time ~ Florentina Xo

    1. Hey Mike, you’ll have to give it a try first, this is a rustic crusty bread, it’s not the white delicate Square for the basic white sandwich bread name after Pullman. This is actually my Neapolitan pizza dough recipe shaped and baked into a round crusty bread loaf. People have been making breads, mixing water flour and yeast for a very long time, I’m just sharing my own family recipe here and I hope home cooks can easily bake and enjoy a delicious loaf for their families as well. Report back if you try ~ Florentina

  8. Excellent bread. I have tried a few recipes but this one was simple and delicious. My wife said it was the best bread I’ve made. Thank you and I’m looking forward to trying the pizza crust.

    1. Best no fail pizza crust ever! I’ve tried about 199, searching for the best! Hands down the BEST.
      Trying the bread now, can’t wait!

  9. I don’t have a pizza stone. Could I just use a very large cast iron skillet that has been heated in the oven?

  10. 5 stars
    Turned out great! It’s cooling now. I would recommend you update instructions to scoop flour instead of spoon it. Luckily I caught your reply to flour ratios, but others may not read comments. Plus specify whether it is coarse or fine sea salt. Details make a difference between a good loaf and bad loaf.

  11. 5 stars
    This bread recipe is so easy and the most authentic rustic Italian bread I’ve made. As a long time baker and bread maker, this recipe is fool proof and delicious. The only change I made was a deep cross with a razor before placing in over, a light dusting of water over the the bread to hold the sesame seeds in place that I sprinkled over the top before placing the dough on the baking stone.

  12. 5 stars
    Was easy to make and the kiddos made ‘boats’ from the ends. (They only like the soft part). I used a stone that smoked my house up so much we opened the outside door and ate lunch on the screen room. The children thought I had set the house on fire. I will use cast iron next time.

  13. Wanting to make this this weekend. Do I put the water in while the oven is preheating or when I put the bread in? TIA!

    1. If you put the water in while preheating you will need a bigger tray so it doesn’t evaporate. Another way would be to spray the top of the bread loaf with some water before baking. During the cooling process it’s best to rest the loaf on its side for any trapped steam to escape and for an extra crusty crust. Enjoy!

  14. 5 stars
    My bread came out great! One issue I’m having is I can’t get the bread to be as “airy” as the pics in the article. Its not overly dense just not the light Italian bread I’m used to. Any tips on what I might be doing wrong?

    1. Hi Sal, is it possible that you overworked the dough during the shaping process? How long did you allow it to rest after shaping and before baking? It could be that you need to let the gluten strands to bounce back a little while your oven heats up. I’d give it a good 30 minutes just sitting on the counter after shaping the loaf.

  15. 5 stars
    This was my first time ever making bread and I have to say this recipe was really easy and the bread came out so delicious. The outside is crispy and chewy but the inside is soft. It looks beautiful. My husband and little kids were delighted with it. I wish I could attach a picture here because I have a really nice picture of how it came out.

  16. Hi!
    Can I cook this in a wood fire oven? If so what would be the temperature and cook time etc?
    Thank you!
    Mikayla

  17. 5 stars
    I used this recipe and made it into 4 hero roll they came out perfect and was great for meatball subs. I will be making this recipe again. ❤️