Nonno Corrado's Everyday Italian Bread

By • March 21, 2016 18 Comments

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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


Makes 2 loaves

  • 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.

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Topics: Bread, Italian Cooking, Italy Week