Sunday, July 31, 2011

Easy Italian Bread

Okay, so the title is still "sort-of" of an alliteration, but I'm working on it. At least all the words in the title don't start with the same letter, right?

Right. Now on to better and more delicious things. To start with, my mom's famous spaghetti with clam sauce!

Alright, maybe it's not famous (to you anyway); but it's definitely yummy. And what goes well with yummy pasta?

Yep, you guessed it - Italian bread.

Now you see, my mom comes from a very Italian family. If you also come from an Italian background, you know what I'm talking about. The red stuff that coats your favorite pasta is called gravy, not sauce and so on. Even her maiden name sounds like it could be one of the types of Buitoni pastas - Orsini (seriously, doesn't that sound like it would look like orzo or Acini Pepe?).

So naturally, we like pasta in my house - a lot, and bread - lots of bread. So how could we have spaghetti with clams without any bread?!

Never fear I thought - I will make the bread! In reality though, there was considerable fear. Mostly my own fear of not meeting my family's (and my own) great expectations when it comes to good Italian Bread.

But - I happened to have stumbled upon a rather intriguing FoodGawker post that claims it's a "no fuss" recipe for bread. No fuss? No overnight starter? This I have to see.

The recipe comes from ShareMyKitchen, and it looks just like the Italian Bread my mom would pick up from Calandra's Bakery in Newark. So now a little bit of the initial fear has subsided, and I'm thinking "I can do this!" I hope. Otherwise, there's no bread in the house to have with maybe I am still a little concerned. Just a little.

But with only 5 ingredients - how hard could it be? I opted to make one larger loaf than split it into three smaller ones like the recipe suggested. Other than that I followed it to a T.

Pretty simple, longest step was just letting it rise for an hour but....

Ta - Da! Italian Bread in less than a few hours!

And may I say (I feel like I always do actually) that this is a STELLAR recipe?! Super easy, even for the most amateur (like me) bread bakers. If you are planning to have family or friends over for a pasta night, I would strongly suggest planning ahead just a bit so that you have enough time to make this. You can even have it still in the oven when they arrive, and casually remark "oh let me go get the bread out of the oven" and do a total shock and awe when they see you pull a Rustic, Artisan-esque bread from your oven.

There you have it, a super-cool (and simple!) way to impress your friends, and save you some cash. This is definitely more cost-effective than buying one of those loaves from the supermarket (and it tastes better too).

I hope you are inspired to have an Italian pasta night just to have a reason to bake up some bread! I know it definitely made a great addition to Mom's Spaghetti and Clams. Enjoy!

Quick Crusty Bread Via ShareMyKitchen
makes 3 smaller loaves or 1 large loaf

500 g all-purpose flour
370 ml lukewarm water
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1. Sift together the flour and salt. Add the yeast.
2. In a separate bowl, dissolve the honey in the warm water.
3 Make a well in the flour and pour in the warm honey-water. Stir until you get a sticky dough (trust me, it won't look pretty, but that's fine. It looks pretty when it's done)
4. Sprinkle a little flour over the top and cover the bowl with a towel or foil. Let rise for about an hour in a warm, dark place. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 430 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle a little flour over it.
5. Carefully remove dough from bowl and place onto baking sheet (floured side up). Shape slightly into a loaf and place in oven.
6. Bake at 430 F for 15-20 minutes, then lower the heat to 320 F and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack before slicing.


  1. Impressive, it does look like a store-bought bread.

  2. Easy peasy-I like that aspect when it comes to making any type of bread. You are right, specialty loaves of bread like this are costly at the bakery.
    The picture of those slices does look pretty tasty-yum. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Put some butter and jam on that puppy and we are ready to go. I love fresh bread, and when you make it you know exactly what is in it. And yeah a lot cheaper than the store bought stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Mmmm fresh bread! I love baking bread so much and I have been trying to find a good italian bread recipe - thanks for sharing!
    Elyse @The Cultural Dish

  5. So easy and it looks like a terrific loaf.
    I've got to try it.

  6. Thanks all for the comments ! :D it makes my day to read them <3