I like nothing in this world better in my kitchen than the smell of freshly baked bread. Even better, if it is crusty Italian bread! The amazing smell fills the house and makes me happy by bringing all my family members to the kitchen. Sometimes we can’t even wait for dinner, and we eat it right then and there with melted butter or garlic spread.
How To Make Crusty Italian Bread?
- We will start by proofing the yeast. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Wait for a few minutes until the mixture becomes foamy. This means the yeast is alive and active.
- Add the olive oil, salt, Italian seasoning, and 3 cups of flour to the bowl. Using the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer, mix until a soft dough forms. You may need to add more flour little by little until the dough separates from the sides of the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rise in a warm and dry place like the inside of your oven (make sure the oven is turned off) for 30 minutes.
- Once it has risen, add a little flour to your counter and place the dough on it. Divide it in half and form each half into a loaf. Place the loaves in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rise, covered with the damp cloth, for another 30 minutes.
- When the loaves have risen, brush them with egg wash and bake for 30 minutes or brown. Place the loaves in the middle of the oven and a shallow dish filled with water in the lower rack of the oven.
What Makes The Bread Crusty?
When we place the shallow dish filled with water in the lower rack, as the water evaporates, it will make the loaves develop a crusty outside. If you do not place the dish with water, the loaves will be soft and not crusty.
It can be stored uncovered for one day, but if you keep it longer than one day, wrap it with foil or place it in a paper bag.
This will keep the bread fresh for a second day. If the bread lasted for more than 3 days, it would be better to freeze it covered in plastic wrap.
- 1 ⅓ cups lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons yeast
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 ½ - 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten plus one tablespoon of water to make the egg wash
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the water, sugar, and yeast. Let it stand until it becomes foamy and the yeast is activated
- Add the olive oil, salt, Italian seasoning, and 3 cups of flour. Using the hook attachment of your stand mixer, mix until a soft dough is formed. You may need to add more flour, but do it little by little just until the dough forms and separates from the side of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth.
- Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes in a warm dry place like your oven (make sure it is turned off). After the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl, divide it in half and form two loaves. Place them in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut a slit all along the length of each loaf and let them rise again for another 30 minutes
- Once they have risen, brush the loaves with egg wash and place a roll made with parchment paper between them to prevent them from sticking to each other if they grow to be too close together. Place a shallow dish filled with water in the lower rack of the oven, and bake them at 350 F for 30 minutes or until brown.