Tuscan bread

Tuscan bread

Pane toscano

By
From
Florentine
Makes
1 loaf
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

This is a very simple version of pane toscano, adapted so it can be made easily and quickly at home. It’s essentially a basic, saltless white bread recipe. Typically, Tuscan bread is baked in a wood-fired oven (it’s almost a requirement), which is what helps it get that characteristic hard and dark crust. But if baking in a regular oven, you can leave the bread in the oven, turned off, for an extra 10 minutes after baking for a crunchier crust.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
20g fresh yeast
or 7g active dry yeast
300ml lukewarm water
500g strong flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Stir the yeast into the water in a mixing bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour this over the flour in a wide bowl, add the olive oil and combine to create a dough. Knead on a lightly floured work surface for about 8–10 minutes or until elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a dish towel. Place in a warm place away from draughts and let it rise until it has doubled, about 1–1½ hours.
  2. Dust the dough generously with flour and, on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper, shape into a large, slightly oval loaf. Don’t punch the dough down as other bread recipes may require – simply nudge the bread into shape. Dust again with flour if needed. Cover with a dish towel and leave the dough to rise for a further 45–60 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  4. Bake the bread in the oven for 20 minutes, Reduce the heat to 180°C and bake for a further 20–30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and tapping on the bottom of the loaf produces a hollow sound. When ready, turn off the heat and leave the bread in the oven for an extra 10 minutes to develop a crunchier and darker crust. Remove the loaf and let it cool on a wire rack.
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