Crusty Italian bread

    1 hour 35 min

    A simple, yet delectable white bread, which is made in the bread maker and baked in the oven. The bread is delicious warm and makes fantastic sandwiches.

    601 people made this

    Makes: 2 loaves

    • 500g plain flour
    • 1 tablespoon light brown soft sugar
    • 315ml warm water (45 degrees C)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1 (7g) sachet dried active baking yeast
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 2 tablespoons dry polenta or cornmeal

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Extra time:40min proofing  ›  Ready in:1hr35min 

    1. Place flour, dark brown soft sugar, warm water, salt, olive oil and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
    2. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form dough into two loaves. Place the loaves seam side down on a chopping board generously sprinkled with dry polenta. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise, until doubled in volume about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 190 C / Gas 5.
    3. In a small bowl, beat together egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the risen loaves with egg mixture. Make a single long, quick cut down the centre of the loaves with a sharp knife. Gently shake the chopping board to make sure that the loaves are not sticking. If they stick, use a spatula or pastry knife to loosen. Slide the loaves onto a baking tray with one quick but careful motion.
    4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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    Reviews in English (580)


    Very easy to follow recipe. Made this to go with some home made ham and potato soup for dinner. I read some of the other reviews advice about cutting the dough deep, although I think I cut mine loaves too deep! Never mind, sure they taste the same. Only thing I did different was to add a cup of water to the bottom of the oven to crisp up the crust.  -  12 Jan 2013


    I was intrigued by all the positive feedback on this recipe. It WAS excellent. I took in some of the suggestions: I cut the salt to 1 tsp, I let the bread rise on my parchment covered stoneware sheet, I did brush the top with the egg wash and I did cut the bread lengthwise. I didn't have any cornmeal so I skipped that. The parchment prevented any sticking. I also put the pan of ice cubes in the bottom while baking. I used all bread flour and it was fine. I may try it in a loaf (in a loaf pan) and use the half bread flour/half AP flour option and see how that turns out. Has anyone ever tried this in a loaf pan? The crust is superb; nice and chewy and the middle was nice and soft. I did let the bread rise about ten minutes longer than the recipe called for, as it looked a bit on the skinny side at 40 minutes. I am a microbiologist by trade. Yeasts are living organisms. They respond to moisture and, more importantly, temperature. If it's cold, your yeast just isn't going to rise as fast as you'd like. There is an optimum temperature for all microorganisms. Since we work with human pathogens, and not commercial food organisms, I don't know the exact range that this would be. I do know that the extra ten minutes made all the difference in the rising for this bread.  -  10 Jan 2007  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I got bigger loaves by letting the dough rise on the actual baking sheet. Moving the dough after rising caused it to fall and resulted in small loaves.  -  08 Feb 2003  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)