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Only quantities of ingredients are changed; recipe Directions below will not reflect those changes.


  • 3 cups - water
  • 1 tablespoons - salt, This may be reduced or omitted, but Americans typically are used to a bit of salt in baked goods.
  • 3 tablespoons - sugar
  • 2 tablespoons - active dry yeast, This is expensive if bought by the packet. It is quite reasonable if you buy 1 lb packages.
  • 2 tablespoons - olive oil, This may be omitted.
  • 8 cups - flour, Bread flour is best but all-purpose flour works too.
  • Directions:

    Warm the water. Add to a mixing bowl and mix in salt and sugar until completely dissolved. Make sure that the water is not too warm (comfortable to hold your finger in) and stir in the yeast.

    This can be made completely by hand (somewhat messy) or using a food processor or mixer.
    I use a Kitchen Aid mixer with dough hook and this works nicely.
    Let sit 10 minutes so the yeast can become active (they’ll make a gooey, tanish-grey foam in the bowl).

    Add the oil.

    Add 3 cups flour and mix completely (loose slurry).
    Add 1 cup flour and mix completely (thicker slurry).
    Add 1 cup flour and mix completely (beginning to look like dough).

    After this point, add the flour a little at a time, allowing complete mixing before adding more. Complete mixing may take a little while, and it will take longer as the dough nears the proper consistency. When the dough no longer sticks to the dough hook or bowl, the dough is ready.

    Form into loaves (typically two). Many shapes are possible, from round to very elongated. Place on a baking sheet well-sprinkled with corn meal. Make some cuts in the dough so that it will not tear the crust as it rises. See the illustration for some ideas on shapes and cut patterns. Let rise until somewhat more than doubled in bulk (20-60 minutes, depending mostly on ambient temperature).

    Bake at 375 °F, 50-60 minutes.
    For crustier bread, bake at 425 °F for 15 min, then lower temperature to 375 °F for an additional 30 minutes.
    You can also put a pan of water in the oven.

    Place on a rack to cool.

    Brief Description

    Basic French/Italian style white bread.

    Main Ingredient:


    Category:  Yeast breads

    Cuisine:  American

    Prep Time: 1 hour(s) 30 min
    Cook Time: 45 min


    This basic recipe may be altered in many ways for variety. For example use 2-3 cups whole wheat flour instead of some of the white flour to make whole wheat bread. You can add herbs or spices.

    The loaves may be left as-is or rubbed with olive oil, butter, or water and egg white before rising to achieve various crust styles.

    This is a pretty generic bread recipe, but it originally called for "sponge" rather than active dry yeast. It can still be made that way but keeping a yeast/flour 'sponge' around takes a bit of doing


    This is based on an old family recipe that goes back to the 19th century.

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    Posted On:

    May 19, 2012

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