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Rustic Italian Bread


Makes 1 large loaf.



  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 c warm water
  • 1/4 c unbleached flour


  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 c warm water
  • 2 1/2 c unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c ice water



  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast, warm water and flour.
  2. Cover and allow to stand in a warm place overnight, or at least 8 hours.


  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the teaspoon of yeast and warm water. Stir. Allow to stand 10 minutes, or until bubbly.
  2. Add the sponge mixture, the 2 1/2 cups of flour, salt and ice water. Using a dough hook, knead the dough 10 minutes.
  3. Scrape the soft dough into an oiled bowl. Cover and put in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Scrape dough out onto a floured surface and fold over several times and knead briefly, adding flour as needed.
  5. Form dough into a loaf shape. Place it in a well-floured couche or in the folds of a pastry cloth to restrain its spread. Allow to stand 40 minutes while preheating a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in a 425 degree F oven.
  6. Gently transfer uncooked loaf to a pizza peel that has been sprinkled with semolina. Slide the loaf onto the preheated stone or sheet. Bake 30 minutes. Cool on rack.

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