Basic Italian bread dough

Italian bread dough

This is the  base to make Italian bread dough. From this you can start and create many other types, such as olive bread or rosemary bread, you just need to add your personal ingredient: fantasy.

Don’t expect to make a perfect Italian bread dough from the very first time, unfortunately bread and pizza dough vary according to the weather, if it’s too cold, it will take more time to ferment, if it’s too hot it could ferment too fast.. as  you will see, same ingredients and same way of preparation could easily bring you to different results. Anyway, don’t worry, your bread dough will always be very good! Those variations got nothing to do with the taste, but only with how the bread will look like.

Let’s start making a fantastic Italian bread dough:

First thing to know: quantities. I will give you the ingredients, but due to the weather and the type of flour you will use, some quantities might change, so remember that the most important thing is to see and check the dough, not to follow the recipe too accurately. To achieve a perfect italian bread dough you will definitely need a bit of patience.


  • 300gr of whole wheat flour
  • 300gr of durum wheat flour or extrafine semolina (you may substitute it with whole wheat or even an all purpose flour, if you are more expert you can use whole wheat flour, or other flours like oat, or spelt)
  • 5g of dried bread yeast (not the quick rise, simple dried yeast)
  • 400gr of water
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1tsp of powder malt (optional- it gives the bread a very nice browning)


Step 1
Mix together the flours in a bowl.

Step 2
In a lage bowl dissolve the yeast with the water and add the 550gr of flour. Mix with a spoon, if the dough is still too moist add more flour. If the dough is a bit sticky that’s fine. Don’t add more flour than the recipes calls for or you’ll get a very dry bread.

Step 3
Cover the bowl and let it sit for somewhere from 30min to 3/4 hours.

Step 4
Take the dough e start to knead it a bit in the bowl. As you knead you’ll find the dough become more and more elastic. Roll it into a ball then cover again and put in the fridge to rest for 6/12 hours (overnight is best).

Step 5
Remove the dough from the fridge, knead it a bit, shape it into a log onto a baking tray dusted with flour, and let it sit for 2/3 hours or until it has risen almost to double its size.

Step 6
While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 250°C (480F). When bread is ready, score the surface with a sharp knife (at least 2cm deep). Put it in the oven for 10min then lower the heat to around 180°C (350F) and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes. Check the bread after 30 minutes, every one’s oven is different so it might need less or more time.

Step 7
Let the bread cool down completely before cutting it.