Easy Italian Bread

This recipe takes 2 days to make, but not much actual time and no kneading. The bread will have a crispy crust and be moist inside.

Biga (make the night before)

1/2 t. active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 T. rye flour

Mix the yeast into the water and stir well until dissolved. In a glass bowl, mix the 2 flours with the yeast mixture. Stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight.


1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
2 t. active dry yeast
4 cups unbleached bread flour
2 t. salt dissolved in 1 T. water
extra flour for baking sheet & top of loaf

Put water in a large bowl and sprinkle yeast over the water and stir until dissolved. Stir in the Biga. Add the flour and salt and stir until the flour is all incorporated and the dough is smooth. Dough will be soft and sticky. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about an hour.

With a scraper or spatula, fold the dough by gently lifting it up from underneath and folding it over itself 2 or 3 times. Cover and let rise again until doubled in volume.

Flour 2 baking sheets with a thin layer. Carefully turn the dough out and divide into 2 pieces. With floured hands place each piece on a baking sheet and gently shape into desired length and thickness. (One large loaf can be made if desired.) Cover and let rise again.

In the bottom of the oven, place a pan of hot water. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Just before putting it in the oven, slip your hands under each loaf and gently flip it over onto its other side. Dust with flour.

Bake at 500 for 15 min. Reduce temperature to 450 and bake another 10-15 min. until brown. Cool on rack before cutting. (If you can wait that long!).

Recipe taken from No Need to Knead by Suzanne Dunaway.