This Crusty Bread Machine Recipe Makes any Meal Special

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Preview: This Crusty Bread Machine Recipe starts life with a simple sponge mixture the night before. Complex yeasty flavors and a crusty exterior are your rewards for thinking ahead.

Crusty Bread Machine loaf cut in slices

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Are you looking for bread to dip into olive oil or sop up the tasty juices from your entree? Do you want rustic bread that won’t require you to knead by hand? What if it only has five ingredients?

This rustic bread recipe may be just what you need.

The texture is soft and absorbent for dipping. You can make it in a bread machine-no kneading by hand is necessary. No fancy ingredients or starter is needed. All you need is water, flour, yeast, and salt. A touch of sugar is optional.

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This recipe utilizes a two-step process that slowly develops a delicious yeasty flavor while you sleep or work. First, make the sponge the night before, then assemble, shape, and bake it 8-16 hours later.

What is the result of this extra step? The pay-off is a better-tasting Tuscan-style loaf (although my loaf does include salt for better flavor) with a deliciously chewy texture and a close crumb. It takes a little more time but not much additional effort.

Please note: You won’t get big holes and spider web texture with this recipe. It’s not that kind of bread. If that’s what you’re after, check out my Ciabatta Bread for a bread machine.

The recipe is for a bread machine, but you can also make it in a stand mixer or by hand. (See recipe notes.)


What makes this bread especially tasty?

This crusty bread starts life as a “sponge,” also referred to as a biga

A “sponge” sounds kinda gross, but this mixture does look like a sponge after it rests for several hours. Don’t you think?

sponge mixture
A “sponge” in bread maker talk

After the sponge has developed for 6-8 hours (or overnight), add the remainder of the flour, water, and salt to make the dough. 

Bread loaf cut in half to show the texture

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • ALL-PURPOSE, UNBLEACHED FLOUR: You can substitute all-purpose unbleached flour or bread flour. Weights will remain the same.
  • YEAST: I prefer instant, bread machine, or rapid-rise yeast. They’re interchangeable.
  • WATER: Spring water is my first choice. If you don’t have it, tap water is fine.
  • SUGAR: Although this is optional, I always add granulated sugar. The crust is prettier.
  • SALT: Use table or sea salt. If you want to use Kosher salt, add 1/4 teaspoon extra. If you want a traditional Tuscan loaf, don’t add salt.

FAQ about this Crusty Bread Machine Recipe for a bread maker:

Do I have to use a bread machine to make this recipe?

I mix and knead the dough in a bread machine, then bake it in my conventional oven for a superior loaf. If you don’t have a machine, it can certainly be made by hand or with a stand mixer. I posted those directions in the notes of the recipe.

Can I make and bake this bread from start to finish in a bread machine?

I don’t recommend it. The texture will not be nice and even (as you see in the picture below). The bread machine does not get hot enough to make a crusty, tender bread with a crust that tastes good.

Of course, you can’t make a round shape since all bread baked in a bread machine has to be the shape of the pan. Also, it would be difficult to slash the top. Furthermore, the top would likely be uneven when baked in a bread machine.

How long will this rustic bread stay fresh?

Because there are no preservatives added to this bread, it’s best to eat or freeze it within three days. Wrap the baked bread in two layers of protective wrapping to prevent freezer burn. Eat within a month.

What are the pros and cons of using water vs. flour when shaping slightly sticky dough?

I prefer to spray the surface I use for shaping the dough with water. Traditionally, people use flour. However, this dough (or any sticky dough) can absorb a lot of flour.

If you are a newbie, you can quickly add too much flour, which causes your bread to be dry and dense. Instead, try spritzing your hands and work surface with water. If your hands get dry, re-spritz or dip them into a bowl of water.

How can I keep the crust crispy?

The crust will stay crispy until you put it into a plastic bag. Then, on the day you make it, you can try placing the cut side down on your cutting surface or board.

What’s left after the first day should be stored in a plastic bag or bread box. However, the crust tends to soften when you enclose the bread.

How to make the dough and form this Crusty Bread Recipe for a bread maker:

Make the sponge the night before the day you want to bake this bread. Add the water, flour, and yeast as specified in the recipe.

Mix for one minute on the DOUGH cycle. Turn the machine OFF. Use a small spatula to make sure all the flour gets mixed into the sponge mixture.

pre-ferment inside pan

The sponge should look like this 6-8 hours later. Add the remaining water, sugar (if using), salt, flour, and yeast. Select the DOuGH cycle and press START. The dough will be clumpy at first. Don’t add water yet.

how the dough should look after kneading

After 12-15 minutes, the dough should look smooth and elastic. It should stick to the side briefly, then pull away.

If it’s too wet and the dough still covers the bottom, add flour one tablespoon at a time until it looks like this. If it’s too dry and the dough doesn’t stick to the side at all, add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough is slightly sticky.

bread dough at the end of the DouGH cycle
es.

When the DOUGH cycle finishes, the dough should be double the original size. If it’s not, leave the dough to sit in the machine until it doubles.

pulling dough out of the bread machine

Pull the dough out of the machine onto a lightly floured or wet surface. (See the discussion in the post about the pros and cons of using flour or water on your board.)

shaping dough by hand

Form dough into a circle. Let it rise for a few minutes to relax.

forming the dough into a cirle

Pull the outside edges to the center and pinch to seal. Flip over.

Move the dough ball to a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina. Cover and let the dough rise until almost but not quite double in size.

sprinkling loaf with flour

Optional: Sprinkle the ball of dough with flour if you want a rustic-looking crust.

slashing the loaf

Score the loaf 1/2 to 1-inch deep with a sharp serrated knife or a razor blade. Immediately place the loaf into a conventional oven that has been preheated to 500˚F (260˚C) and turn the heat down to 425˚F (220˚C).

Bake for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 200˚F (93˚C).

Let the hot loaf cool for an hour before cutting.

Try making this bread the next time you find yourself with several hours at home.  Yes, it requires a little more time than most homemade bread. But it’s not so much hands-on time. The yeast needs time to do its thing.

Your patience with the process will be repaid with flavor and a crusty exterior.


More recipes and tips for your bread maker:


If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula

Crusty Bread Machine Recipe

This Crusty Bread Machine recipe (made in a bread machine) produces a rustic loaf of bread that involves making a sponge the night before. Overnight, the dough develops a deep, yeasty flavor in addition to a soft texture with a close crumb.
5 from 47 votes
Prep Time 19 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 19 hrs 30 mins
Course Bread
Servings 12 servings

Video

Ingredients

Sponge:

  • 1 cup cold water - 227 gr
  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour - 180 gr
  • 1 teaspoon instant or bread machine yeast - 3 gr

Dough:

  • 3 tablespoons cold water - 43 gr
  • 1 teaspoon sugar - optional, but it makes a nice crust
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt - 9 grams
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour - 240 gr
  • ¼ teaspoon bread machine or instant yeast - 1 gr

Instructions
 

Making the Sponge:

  • Place water, yeast, and flour in a bread machine pan and select the "DOUGH" cycle. Mix for 1 minute. Use a small spatula to carefully push flour stuck in the corners into the mixing area. Unplug the bread machine, close the lid, and let the flour mixture stand at room temperature overnight or about 8 hours. Do not leave over 16 hours.

Making the Dough

  • Open the lid of the bread machine and add the remaining water, sugar, salt, flour, and yeast.
  • Restart dough cycle. Check dough after 5-10 minutes of mixing. If necessary, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time to form a smooth but slightly tacky ball. If the dough is too dry and bounces off the sides, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough sticks to the sides then pulls away cleanly.
  • When the DOUGH cycle ends, check to make sure the dough has doubled in size. If not, leave the dough in the machine to continue rising in the machine until double in size. It could take a while if your kitchen is chilly or drafty.
  • If you are new to bread machines, see Six Bread Machine Tips for Beginners for more help with step 3.

Preparing and Baking the Loaf

  • Remove dough from the bread machine pan to a lightly-floured surface or silicone baking mat (my preference). Use your hands to form the dough into a smooth ball by pulling the dough around to the bottom until the top is smooth. Pinch the bottom with your fingers. Place the ball of dough onto a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Cover loosely with lightly-oiled plastic wrap or a tea towel and place in a warm place to rise until almost doubled in size.
  • About 15 minutes before the bread is ready to bake, preheat a conventional oven to 500˚F (260˚C). Just before putting bread into the oven, sprinkle the top with flour, if desired. Using a single edge razor blade (or a sharp, serrated knife), make several cuts across the top of the loaf about 1/2 to 1-inch deep.
  • Turn the oven back to 400˚F (200˚C). Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 200˚F ( 93˚C). Allow the loaf to cool on a rack before slicing. You will get prettier slices if you wait for at least an hour to cut the bread.

Notes

 

Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:
    • Follow the directions above for making the sponge. Use a medium-sized mixing bowl to mix the sponge and let it sit for 6-8 hours.
    • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer:  Add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on LOW to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. Continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
    • If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading will likely take 10-20 minutes, depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
    • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Crusty Bread Machine Recipe
Serving Size
 
1 slice
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
100
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Sodium
 
98
mg
4
%
Carbohydrates
 
21
g
7
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
3
g
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keywords: bread machine recipe, crusty bread, Italian bread, yeast bread
Like this recipe? Thanks for leaving a 5-star rating inside the recipe at the top! 🤩

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Recipe Rating




79 Comments

  1. looks yummy! i can see why this is brett’s favorite!

  2. Smart kid! I wish my parents had made me homemade bread… I love the way preferments can give bread that almost-sourdough flavor that’s just enough to make you wonder.

  3. Amazing looking loaf! Thank you for posting!

  4. Ohhhh, Paula….your bread looks heavenly!! Wow. Beautifully done…have never made bread before. Photos are fantastic.

  5. Betty@ scrambled hen fruit says:

    No snow days here yet this year, and with last week’s 70 degree temps I’m beginning to wonder if we will have one! I do have Monday off though, and it would be the perfect day to try this. (I’ll have to write myself a note to start it tomorrow night.) I’ve never used this method with a bread machine- sounds delicious!

  6. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Gumbo is coming? Oh, please hurry! 🙂

  7. Looks just like it came from a bakery! I remember making italian crusty bread back in Seattle – I bought unglazed tiles for the oven and sprayed the bread down with a mister…. well worth the time and effort – but this looks even easier! I love that criss-cross pattern with the razor. It gives it such a professional look – and speaking of look – looking forward to the gumbo recipe!

  8. Oh.My.Word! Just the photos have me drooling! I could literally make a meal off of some of this with a glass of wine. Oh yes!

    Hugs,
    Kat

  9. What beautiful bread! I love the scored pattern on top, and you make it look so easy. (I know it’s not because the dough resists being cut!) Also love your new profile pic.

    1. Hi Gaye, I just now got what you mean about the dough resisting being cut. A little slow here. Actually, it can be somewhat resistant if it wants to stick to the razor. Have to dip it in flour when that happens.

  10. beautiful looking loaf of bread!

  11. This fabulous loaf looks like it came straight from a Parisian bakery! Yum!!

  12. That is one beautiful loaf of bread.
    Mimi

  13. A note on the biga (or whatever it’s called :-))…..

    For an even more complex flavor, you can make the biga in a separate container (I use a plastic food storage box that holds at least 8 cups volume), let it do it’s thing at room temp for 12 hours or so, then put in in the fridge for up to three days before you use it. If you were making by hand, you’d want to let the biga warm up before continuing with the recipe, but the bread machine warms it up for you in the initial stages.

    Made this bread last night with a 2 day old biga (fermented about 12 hours; in the fridge the rest of the time) and it was awesome! I need to dig out my bread stone so I can get it even crustier.

  14. It just came out of the oven-looks beautiful, sounds hollow-can’t wait for the loaf to cool.

  15. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Paula!! I have tried way too many recipes to mention for that great crusty edge, to no avail until your recipe. The bread was amazing! Super easy, literally two minutes hands on time, I will try to shape into a bagette next time for an even crunchier crust ( I know I am a breadie- like a foodie, but bread is my it food) So keep the awesome recipes coming!
    Happy cooking!
    Thanks Jen

    1. Hi Jen,
      So nice to hear from another breadie. Glad the recipe worked for you. It’s a winner with my family too. pr

  16. Lori Sheranian says:

    I just finished making this bread and it was fabulous. We all loved it. Thank you again, so very much. You bring me and my family so much joy!

  17. sarah arnold says:

    Hi Paula, in this recipe you say all purpose unbleached flour – is that the same as bread flour? I am in the UK and we have the bread flours (wholemeal, strong white etc) and then normal flour – either plain or self-raising. For the dinner rolls and the pizza dough I used Strong white bread flour, will this work for this bread too? Also in stage 1 of preparing and baking – how long does it usually take to double in size?
    thanks!
    sarah

    1. Sarah,
      Bread flour has a little more protein and gluten than all-purpose flour but bread flour will work fabulously in the recipes you mention. Our all-purpose flour is probably the same as your “normal” flour although I don’t know that for certain.

      I do the first rise in the bread machine on the dough cycle so that takes 1 hour and 30 minutes. But machines vary. The second rise after I have formed the dough also varies–anywhere from 30-50 minutes depending on the room temperature, kind of dough and how it is formed. Hope that helps.

      1. sarah arnold says:

        Thanks, will stick to the bread flour then. Yes my machine takes about the same time to do the kneading and rise. For the dinner party rolls I only left them about 15 mins for the second rise…but in my warming drawer which seems perfect for it. Will let you know how it goes!

  18. Kathy Bognar says:

    This bread is amazing. It doesn’t last long when I make it!

  19. For a much thicker, crisper crust I bake inside a Dutch oven:
    1. Let rise on a large square of parchment paper, cover dough w/ plastic wrap.
    2. At final 30-40″ of rise, place a round 8 qt Dutch oven w/ lid into 475F oven.
    3. When dough is ready and slashed, remove 475F Dutch oven from oven.
    4. Carefully/rapidly remove top, and holding bread by edges of paper ‘sling’, plop into Dutch oven, quickly place top back on. Minimize length of this step., you want oven to stay hot.
    5. Bake on top 1/3 of oven for 30 min w/ top on.
    6. Bake w/ top off, another 30 min or until temp is 190-200F. Enjoy the crunch!

    1. Can’t wait to try this Ellen. Reminds me of No-Knead Bread.

  20. Dear Paula, Is sponge bread same as a sourdough bread?

    1. Not exactly. Some people call sponge bread the “poor man’s sourdough.” Sponge bread has somewhat the same texture as sourdough but is not nearly so sour. I love both.

  21. It was great. Paula this bread had become my husband’s favorite. I just follow your instructions and it comes out as it looks on the website. A question though-
    Can I use whole wheat flour to make this ?
    Thanks for a wonderful website.

    1. Sangeeta,
      I haven’t tried using whole wheat in this particular recipe. You might swap out one cup and see how it goes.

  22. I NEVER KNEW I COULD MAKE SUCH DELICIOUS BREAD! Thank you for this recipe and instructions. I made my first loaf today and it turned out AMAZING! I may never set foot in the Whole Foods bread section again!

    1. Your first loaf? Congratulations!! Glad it worked for you.

      1. Hi again. So, I have successfully made this bread twice. It is gorgeous and delicious and makes me so happy. BUT. In both cases I have what I think is mold on the bottom of the loaf. They’re just like dark-ish spots, only on the underside. With the first loaf, I just ignored them, figuring it was a weird fluke and it couldn’t possibly be mold. But the same spots appeared the second time. Is it possible that mold is growing on the underside of the loaf, during the rising period? Maybe I’m allowing it to rise for too long? I’m letting it rise for many hours, like 4 or 5 hours. Is that too long? Also, I put it to rise in the bathroom, which is the warmest room in the house. Maybe it’s just to warm and/or humid in there? Has this ever happened to you? Any thoughts or ideas for me? Thank you!

  23. I love your bread recipes and have been working through them since I came across your site.
    I’ve got tendonitis in my forearms and slightly arthritic fingers, neither of which can cope with kneading any more, so this is how I use my bread maker too – to do all the heavy lifting in preparation. I hadn’t seen this version of italian bread before but it makes great sense to use the machine to knead then store the mix (biga, preferment, whatever!) overnight with no messing around between bowls.
    Thank you.

  24. Maralyn Woods says:

    I’m using your recipe once a week with great success. I live in Northern California so I have to add vital wheat gluten or I get a door stop instead of a loaf. I can’t use salt so I’ve been experimenting with additives to get some great flavor. Today’s loaf has Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped rosemary, and a tsp of butter flavoring. The aroma is driving me wild. I’m striving to make Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery) type breads without all the work. I’m ooooold so the easier it is the more likely I am to do it. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

  25. Hi, by mistake I put 1 tablespoon instead of 1 teaspoon of yeast in my starter

  26. Mary G Smith says:

    I love your website. I bought my bed maker from Craigslist for $50 bucks, same brand as your favorite. I found a yogurt maker at the Sally store for $3 and now am making Greek yogurt. I started making my own granola about a month ago. Get’in domesticated after all these years. This is a great website to read about bread

    http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread

  27. Hello, I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your bread recipes (and website!). I made Crusty French Bread last week and am going to make Crusty Round Bread this week. I always get a ton of compliments when I make your soft garlic sticks!

    1. The Crusty French Bread is a family favorite. Hope the Crusty Round Bread turns out just as well for you. Thanks for writing.

  28. margaret wyatt says:

    I have made the crust round bread three times. The first time it turned out perfectly and tasted amazing. The second time was for company…. it didn’t rise as much and afterwards was very thick and heavy… went over the recipe and couldn’t remember doing anything differently at all.
    So I have just made it a third time…. looks like it is the same thing – didn’t rise much and very heavy! Yeast is good and followed directions to a tee. Any ideas on what I could be doing wrong. The first time it was the best bread in the world… sigh…

    1. Maggie Temple says:

      @margaret wyatt, Are you using the same flour? It sounds like a gluten issue to me Or rather lack of Gluten, all else being equal. Try using a good quality bread flour which is higher in gluten than all purpose flour.

  29. Hi! I wanted to thank you for this recipe and the great instructions. I had never made bread before or even knew anyone who makes bread and I was able to make it as my first loaf! My friends told me it was as good as “the expensive fancy stuff” and we ate ourselves sick. (To any other newbies out there, I did YouTube the look of proper dough and how to shape it. It helped a lot.)
    So thank you so much and here’s hoping I can repeat my experiment! I am very glad I dared to be adventurous and didn’t just stick to baking in my machine for my first go.

  30. Paula, I am making the French Bread Today. I made the Sweet loaf bread yesterday. I am making pizza dough this afternoon. I just love making bread in my bread machine, Paula’s way. Thanks again for the tips, knead in the machine and cook in the oven. Hope you’re having a great day!

  31. 5 stars
    I have made this bread about 5 times now and all of them turned out just perfect!! This usis my favourite bread recipe!! Thank you

    1. Thank you Pia for coming back to leave a comment. Happy bread-eating!

  32. 5 stars
    I have made this bread about 5 times now and all of them turned out just perfect!! This usis my favourite bread recipe!! Thank you

  33. Hi,
    Really love this bread and tidy experimenting with it as a pizza base…. Just wondering if I could delay second rise, after biga, in the fridge as I don’t want to bake it for ~8hrs (10am now). Would this be OK do you think?

    1. Hi Jen,
      I haven’t tried it so can’t say for sure. Definitely think it’s worth a try. It would allow more time to develop the flavor for sure.

  34. Sangeeta Heines says:

    5 stars
    Just follow the directions & the bread comes out amazing. My husband loves it.

  35. Mark French says:

    This turned out great except I had to add two or three more tablespoons of water for the kneading or else it was much too dry and wouldn’t knead. Very chewy and yummy!

    1. Sounds like you are a good and experienced bread baker who knows that the amount of moisture (water) and flour needed to make the perfect loaf can vary with the weather, measuring techniques, mixing method, etc. Glad you like the bread. I just made it myself this weekend. We ate it way too fast.

  36. HI Paula,
    I love your site. I’ve been spending hours reading about making bread and yogurt there.

    I was all ready to try your Crusty Round Bread (made in a bread machine) recipe when I remembered that I read that Canadian all purpose flour and American all purpose flour are not the same. I read that Canadian all purpose flour contains more gluten and can therefore, be substituted for bread flour, but American flour is different. I see that you are writing from the U.S., so I thought I would ask you before trying the bread to see if Canadian all purpose flour can be used in your recipe.

    Sincerely,
    Teddi
    Bread machine newbie

    1. That recipe will work with all-purpose unbleached or bread flour so I think you should be good. Hope you like it.

  37. 5 stars
    love this recipe! i thought the soft bread rolls was your best recipe, but I made this today and it exceeded my expectations! i love every one of your bread machine recipes!

  38. Gotta skip Recipe #3 for the moment…

    Due to the current Movement Control Orders in my area, am still trying to buy some of the ingredients from the least crowded shop near my house.

    I’ve made Recipe #4&5 before, thus making Recipe #6 (this one ☝?) to go with stew lamb shank dinner tomorrow.

    The ‘sponge’ is sitting on my counter top as I typed… ???

  39. The loaf rise nicely and hold the shape ??????
    Good texture and taste — perfect to go with Lamb Shank Stew last night!!!

  40. Since my scale was handy, I measured three ounces of water. Here’s what I determined. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

    3 Tbl water = 1.5 fl oz
    3 fl oz of water = 6 Tbl.

    Is there an error in the ingredients? Fortunately, since I was unsure what to do, I put in 4 T of water, then I kept adding a little flour as the dough mixed to come up with, what I thought, looked like the dough consistency that it was supposed to be. Bread still in bread maker…to be continued (lol). Hope this turns out well–I’m eager to bite into it.

    1. Susie,

      You are right. I just added those weights a few days ago and messed up on that one. I’ve changed the recipe.

      But you did the right thing to just add more flour until the consistency is right. I’m guessing your bread will be fabulous!

    2. @Paula, thanks so much. The bread was a good first effort for an Artesian loaf. I will try it again. I love your recipes and insight.

      1. Thanks, Susie. Experience always helps.

  41. Denise Bryce says:

    5 stars
    I love your recipes and this one is a family fave. What I’ve done is when ready I split the dough into four sections and stretch then out into a baguette and cook that way. I get four of them and they last about 36 hours in my kitchen.

  42. Elizabeth Jo. says:

    Hi Paula, which herbs or spices enhance the flavor of the different bread? Thank you for your help. Blessings.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      For this recipe, a teaspoon or two of Italian herbs would be interesting. Roasted garlic or toasted dried onions would also be fabulous. The great thing about making your own bread is you can experiment to your heart’s content.

    2. Elizabeth Jo. says:

      @Paula, Thank you so much for answering. I will try all three, of course, at different times. They all sound so delicious.

  43. Marcy Dee says:

    5 stars
    Makes a great loaf

  44. Hi, In “This Crusty Bread Machine Recipe” how much water do I use ?

    1. The amount is listed in the recipe at the very end of the post. You will need approximately 270 grams of water. 1 cup to make the biga and an additional 3 tablespoons when you go to make the dough the next day.

  45. Carol Kunicki says:

    Can this dough be frozen?

    1. Hi Carol,
      I have not experimented with freezing this dough. In general, I don’t freeze raw yeast bread dough. It never seems to rise as well in my experience. However, I know that grocery stores sell frozen dough. Who knows what kind of additives they add to preserve it.

      On the other hand, this dough can be chilled in the refrigerator after the first rise. I would try to use it within a day or two.

  46. 5 stars
    I’m new to this breadmaking game and, after several disappointing results, I stumbled upon your site. I avidly read all your tips and tricks and decided to try this round loaf. It had a lot to live up to because we live in France and regularly buy the French ‘boule’.
    I finished baking this bread today and we ate some tonight with our meal. My goodness, it’s EQUALLY as good as any bread we’ve bought in the 22 years we’ve lived here. I’m SO pleased and relieved that I can finally lay claim to baking a cracking good ‘boule’ – yippeee!
    Merci, Paula! I’ll be using this recipe on a very regular basis!

    1. Hi Ruth,
      What a day-brightening email! I’m so glad you found my site. I appreciate you taking the time to write and let everybody know how much you liked it. May you enjoy many more delicious boules.

  47. Your bread recipe. Is a thumbs up! I’ve made it 3 times and it’s always wonderful! Thank you!

    1. Sandra, Thanks for writing. Glad you love it!!

  48. 5 stars
    Beautiful! I usually have bad luck with bread machine crusty loaf. The sponge is the key to this bread’s success in my opinion. Worth the extra step for such good results.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi DFG,
      I agree. Although some people think it’s too much trouble, the sponge improves the flavor and texture exponentially.

  49. I thought Tuscan bread was supposed to be made without salt?

    1. Hi Sue,
      Yes, you’re right. Traditionally, Tuscan bread is also eaten with salty accompaniments like prosciutto and salty cheese. Without salt, bread is bland. That’s why I don’t advertise this recipe as “Tuscan bread” in the title. However, because of your question, I did add a bit more explanation to the post as to why this crusty bread is not a traditional Tuscan bread recipe. Thanks so much for writing.