Tips For Making The Best Italian Bread

Bread baking is both an art and a science. It requires that you are attentive and precise with your baking, and the approach will vary based on the type of bread you're baking. For example, basic white bread is soft and dense throughout with a soft and buttery crust. The same typically applies to dinner rolls, though they are lighter and don't have the same dense crumb that the bread does. Italian bread, on the other hand, is very different. Here's what you need to know.

What Makes Italian Bread Different?

The thing that makes Italian bread unique is the texture of both the crust and the interior crumb. Italian bread is known for the crispy outer crust that encases a soft, fluffy, delicate crumb on the inside. This final texture is achieved by creating a highly specific mixture and baking environment for the recipe.

How Do You Get a Crusty Loaf?

If you are accustomed to baking softer bread, you may wonder what it takes to get that crusty outside on an Italian bread loaf. The crust is formed by a combination of elements in the recipe. First, you need to start with a simple recipe that doesn't have any added softeners in the mix. For example, things like eggs, sugar, and butter in a bread recipe all contribute softness to the final product.

A good crispy-crusted Italian bread loaf starts with a simple, basic recipe that contains nothing more than flour, salt, water, and yeast. This basic combination allows the crust to crisp up during baking because nothing is contributing to softening it.

In addition, you can further encourage a crispy crust on your Italian bread with moisture. Steam in your oven will help to facilitate that crust formation. You can achieve this in one of two ways. Either spray the dough with water immediately before putting it in the oven or preheat the oven with a cast-iron pan beneath the rack where you'll put the bread. Pour a half-cup or so of water into the hot pan when you put the bread in the oven, then quickly close the oven door to contain the steam.

For more help and to get the Italian bread you're craving, contact a local bakery near you today. They can offer same-day loaves as well as day-old products, too. No matter what you're looking for the bread for, you're sure to find what you need.