Crispy Italian Bread Recipe
The most delicious homemade recipe for a crispy Italian Bread recipe. Crispy and crunchy crust with a soft and airy center, served with a homemade oil and herbs dipping oil.
Place 2 cups sifted flour, sugar and yeast into a large mixing bowl and mix. Add 2 cups very warm water and on low speed with a mixer mix for about 1 minute.
Cover dough with plastic wrap, let stand 1 hour or until bubbly.
Gently stir in oil and salt, stir in 3 cups sifted flour. Once mixed in bowl, place onto lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 minutes. Add more flour if necessary so dough doesn’t stick to hands. Once kneaded, the dough should be smooth and springy. (You should need more than 5 ½ cups flour).
Shape dough into a ball, releasing any air bubbles, flatten a bit and transfer to a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set asie to rise 1 hour (or until doubled in size). Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with butter. Take the dough and shape into an even and round loaf, no need to release all the bubbles. Stretch sides of dough downwards to make almost a smooth top (about 9 to 10 inches in diameter). Add to baking sheet. Run hands under water and pat top of dough with water. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or kitchen towel, allow to rise 1 more hour or until almost double in size. Add hot water to an 8x8 or 9x9 pan until about 1/2” from top and place on bottom rack of oven, not directly under the loaf. Heat oven to 425°F.
Carefully, with a sharp knife, make slashes on top of loaf. Dust with flour.
Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until loaf is deep golden brown with crispy crust and sounds hallow when tapped. Transfer loaf to wire rack to cool completely before cutting.
Prepare dipping oil-Place the parsley, basil, rosemary, oregano and red pepper flakes, minced garlic, salt and pepper into a bowl or place and stir. Pour the olive over the ingredients and serve with the bread as dip.
** Depending on the flour you use, you might need 5-5 1/2 cups of flour!
To clarify, the bread will be baked on the center rack of the oven. The pan with the water is to be placed on the lower rack and not directly under the bread.