Nonno Corrado's Everyday Italian Bread

March 21, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Makes 2 loaves
Author Notes

My late grandfather in Bologna would wake up every morning at 6 A.M. to make this bread. It tastes like olive oil and yeast, but covered in thin layers of mortadella, toasted with honey, or used to sop up leftover ragu, it sings. —Francesca Andreani

What You'll Need
  • 12 1/2 grams active dry yeast
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 275 grams warm water
  • 50 grams extra-virgin olive oil
  • 500 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt (generous)
  1. Add the yeast, a pinch of sugar, and warm water to a small bowl and stir gently to dissolve completely. Allow the mixture to sit for approximately 15 minutes, until a full layer of frothy bubbles forms at the top, which is the yeast activating.
  2. When yeast activates, add oil and mix well.
  3. Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and combine with the water, yeast, and oil mixture. Mix with a fork until it’s workable enough to mix with your hands.
  4. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, on a clean work surface, until all ingredients are uniformly combined. Roll the dough into a smooth ball and cover with a dishcloth. Rest in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F.
  6. Once the dough has risen, knead again for 1 to 2 minutes and form into ball. Cut the ball of dough into 2 even pieces.
  7. Working with one piece at a time, roll the small ball of dough into a snake shape, approximately 15 inches long. Place the dough on the work surface, perpendicular to you. Hold the far end with one hand, and gently roll the end closest to you in on itself gently, moving towards the far end as you go. The final shape should look something like a croissant.
  8. When each of the loaves are shaped, place them on a baking sheet and cover with the dishtowel to rise for 15 minutes.
  9. Once risen, cut a slit lengthwise down the loaves, half of the loaf’s depth, leaving the ends intact.
  10. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until the crust is golden brown.
  11. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Chuck48
  • Franca
  • pierino
  • Hannah Wilken
    Hannah Wilken
  • amysarah

20 Reviews

Nancy G. May 16, 2020
Can I get this recipe in ounces instead of grams????
monica May 20, 2016
I saw this and thought to myself, that looks like bolognese bread! So much nostalgia ?
Sharon M. April 9, 2016
Can you give me the measurements in cups and ounces? My conversion skills are somewhat lacking.
valerie April 9, 2016
Do you have a video about how to shape the loaf? I can't picture how to roll this in on itself until it looks like a croissant. Thanks!
amysarah April 9, 2016
Valerie, I had the same question - seemed like a snake rolled onto itself would form a coil. But I made it the other day, and it did actually resemble a sort of stubby croissant,i.e., fatter at the middle and tapering at the ends.

It was very good, lovely taste and texture. I might try making one larger loaf next time, as dividing the dough in half yielded two very small loaves.
Chuck48 April 8, 2016
Francesca, I hate to be picky BUT, you named this recipe "Tuscan Bread" and then tell us that your grandpapa would make it in Bologna. Bologna is in Emilia-Romagna, not Tuscany. In Tuscany they make their bread without salt.
Stefster April 8, 2016
Not all of us Chuck
Franca April 8, 2016
12 1/2 grams yeast??!! That's seems like way too much for the amount of flour called for.
Anne May 22, 2016
Actually most bread pizza recipes use 12-15grams dry yeast to 500g flour. It's the equivalent roughly of 1 or 1.5 little sachets, depending on the brand. Here in France it's called Levure Boulanger or Baker's Yest.
pierino April 8, 2016
Interesting in that it asks for a generous amount of salt whereas typical Tuscan and Umrian breads are notoriously salt free.
Carol S. April 8, 2016
I just bought a kitchen scale on Amazon so I can make this bread. I'm looking forward to it!
Hannah W. April 8, 2016
Making this bread this weekend :)
Karen April 8, 2016
Francesca, if you only have instant yeast on hand, would you just add that straight to the flour and salt? Thanks.
Francesca A. April 11, 2016
Hi Karen- I made it with active dry yeast, and allowed the yeast to bloom in the warm water before incorporating into the flour. Hope this helps!
Catherine April 6, 2016
This a a very beautiful story. Thank you for sharing!
Suzanne April 6, 2016
I weighed a packet of yeast and it came out to under 12.5 grams. Can that be right that the recipe requires more than a packet? Thanks for any info. on the conversions.
Francesca A. April 6, 2016
Hi Suzanne - the recipe was originally made with fresh yeast, but since it's hard to find here, I made it with about a packet and a half of the dry active! It might still work with less however, I just haven't tried it yet.
Jovan April 8, 2016
In my personal home baking experience, I've found that the amount of dry yeast, whether active or rapid-rise, doesn't greatly affect the rise. For example, one basic bread recipe I often bake calls for about 1kg of all-purpose flour and I use only one 7g packet of active dry yeast.
Smaug April 8, 2016
Amen- there are so many factors affecting the speed of the yeast's growth that the initial amount is far from a defining factor. Much better to learn how to judge when the dough is ready; measurements and the clock are never more than a general guideline in bread recipes.
Louise January 25, 2020
Can we get the Recipe in ounces and cups instead of grams and stuff because I don’t understand it