No-Knead, Rustic, Italian-style Bread

Nicoletta June 23, 2017

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No-Knead Rustic, Italian-style Bread, has recently become my go-to recipe every time we want a freshly baked, rustic white bread, Italian-style. An artisan no-knead, free-form loaf, easy and quick, with a nice crust and crumb, that doesn’t last long in our house.

Song of the Day: Tonight Tonight – The Smashing Pumpkins.

No-Knead, Rustic, Italian-style Bread

Bread has always been a huge part of my life. It is usually a huge part of any Italian family, at least the old style ones, that have bread on their table at every meal.


For my father, buying bread is a daily thing. He and my mother, they go out to a bakery to buy fresh bread every morning, rain or shine. When they lay the table, every meal, lunch and dinner, in the dining room, with a tablecloth and everything, fresh sliced bread is always in the center, you’d be in trouble if you forgot. The bread is always rustic, in a free-form loaf, called “filone“, with a beautiful crust that when sliced makes a mess of crumbs on the tablecloth, and airy holes, sometimes so big you can see through them. Nobody ever panics about the mess on the table, the most important thing is enjoying the meal (and be punctual if you’re invited), lol.

For my mother, and her dearest memory, bread is always associated with figs. No dessert or breakfast, in her eyes, ever beats Pane e fichi, a slice of bread and figs gently pressed on top.

For my aunt, my mother’s sister, a slice of rustic bread is a morning ritual. She pours warm milk in a breakfast bowl and breaks the bread inside. Then with a spoon, a satisfied look, and a soft smile, she scoops the soaked bread pieces in her mouth. Before that, a nice espresso enjoyed in bed, as my uncle still spoils her after many years of marriage.

For my nonna, bread was the perfect accompaniment to her favorite sauteed greens, cicoria, dandelions, that happen to be my favorite as well.

For me, it is the flavor of home and the beloved memory of nonna’s concept of my after school snack: pane e zucchero, bread and sugar, for something sweet, or pane e olio, bread and olive oil, for something savory. That eventually transformed into pane e Nutella, or bread and any chocolate spread, still my favorite breakfast or snack up to date.

No-Knead, Rustic, Italian-style BreadNo-Knead, Rustic, Italian-style Bread

The sliced, soft, packaged bread (baked in the loaf tin) we have in Canada, in Italy is called pancarrè and is used mostly to make sandwiches, in Italian called tramezzini. You would never see it on a table as a “proper” bread.  I miss the Italian bread so much, especially that nice crust! Do not get me wrong, I do like certain bread here, the ones we buy at the Farmer’s market or at a couple favorite bakeries, but they all seem to have some kind of softness and “sponginess” and are perfect -for my taste- only when toasted. The other thing I noticed, is that the Italian bread doesn’t get moldy as the Candian counterpart. It gets hard as days pass, that yes, like a hockey puck, and the only thing you can do with it, is making bread crumbs. Or do like my dad (the ultimate “waste not want not” advocate): if it gets too hard, wet it in water and do not even blink when you eat it. I know some of you may say “eww!” but think that this is how panzanella was created, lol, to use stale bread.

No-Knead, Rustic, Italian-style Bread

I was trying to find the right recipe for some time when, on an Italian website, I saw a recipe for a bread called Pane veloce veloce (quick quick bread). As you might know, by now, patience is not my strongest point, so the other requirement in order to be considered the right recipe, other than rustic and crusty, was quick. And this one wasn’t just quick. It was quick quick. I was sold. I’ve made this No-Knead Rustic, Italian-style Bread already three times since then and it flagged all the boxes. All you need is:

  • all-purpose flour
  • water
  • yeast (I use fresh “baker’s” yeast, but you can use active dry yeast as well)
  • honey (or sugar)
  • salt

To make a one-bowl, no-knead, rustic, crusty bread, that rises just once in one hour and a half and then it goes in the oven shaped in two free-form loaves.

No-Knead, Rustic, Italian-style Bread

Something that I have never done was to cut a slice just when it is starting to cool off and instead of reaching for the chocolate spread, I put a pat of salted butter on it. Talk to me a few years ago and butter was not even in my vocabulary. Talk to my mom and she still does not acknowledge it at all. But over the years here I have come to appreciate, in moderation, of course, a good quality, organic, butter, and so some of the Canadian culture has infiltrated me, lol.

I have to say, the first thing that comes in is the crunch of the crust. The airiness of the crumb is insurmountable and encased in that wonderful sounding echoing exterior of goodness, just fabulous. The melted butter was good too, rich, somewhat salty, and melted creaminess, and I know you would agree that the smell of freshly baked bread is enough to entice any foodie. I do not know if it molds quickly because it just disappears in just a couple of days.

No-Knead, Rustic, Italian-style Bread

If you like rustic artisan loaves and are looking for an easy breezy super delicious bread recipe, then you gotta try our No-Knead, Rustic, Italian-Style Bread!

Song of the Day: Tonight Tonight – The Smashing Pumpkins.

No-Knead, Rustic, Italian-style Bread

No-Knead, Rustic, Italian-style Bread

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 free-form artisan loaves 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


No-Knead Rustic, Italian-style Bread, has recently become my go-to recipe every time we want a freshly baked, rustic white bread, Italian-style. An artisan no-knead, free-form loaf, easy and quick, with a nice crust and crumb, that doesn’t last long in our house.

The recipe is adapted from: Pane veloce veloce


  • 500 g (4 ½ cups) unbleached all purpose flour + more for the top
  • 370 ml (1 ½ cup) lukewarm water
  • 12 g (0,42 oz; 2 1/4 tsp fresh “baker’s” yeast (or 1 1/4 tsp dry active yeast)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or sugar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of honey.
  2. Put the flour in a bowl, add the dissolved yeast and the rest of the water and stir rapidly using a fork.
  3. Add the salt and stir. The dough will be soft and sticky, and definitely not smooth.
  4. Sprinkle the surface with more flour, cover with a damp cloth (or with plastic wrap) and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 430° F (220° C).
  6. Transfer the dough on a floured board using a spatula (the floured surface must be facing up) and divide the dough into two loaves.
  7. Gently transfer them onto a non-stick baking sheet, sprinkled with flour.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, then lower the oven to 320° F (160° C) and bake for additional 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Cool over a wire rack, at least 15 minutes, before cutting.


I find the fresh yest, otherwise called “baker’s” or compressed yeast, in the refrigerated section of our Italian store. It looks like a pack of butter, and it lasts in the fridge about 4 weeks. I usually freeze it in small portions, well wrapped in plastic and take it out when I want to bake.

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No-Knead, Rustic, Italian-style Bread

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  • Avatar
    Reply Colleen Milne June 23, 2017 at 8:34 am

    This bread looks so good. I’m very picky about bread, but this one looks perfect, and I love that it’s “quick quick” and crusty. Love your photos, too. I’ll be trying this one.. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 23, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Thanks, Colleen! I can understand, I am SO picky about bread, and I just don’t eat it, if it is not the way I like it. We all seem to love this one, it is gone soon every time I bake the two loaves. I would love for you to try it. If you love a crusty bread, not the soft one, this might be the one.

      • Avatar
        Reply Shehy April 6, 2018 at 12:30 pm

        Thank you, It’s rising now and I can’t wait.

  • Avatar
    Reply Gabby Peyton June 23, 2017 at 8:46 am

    What a lovely post! Bread is a huge part of my life too, my father and grandparents made it all the time when I was growing up! I always think I never bake bread enough, but this recipe might get me going again!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 23, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Thank you, Gabby! I love bread, making it, eating it, and remembering all the familiar flavors. You were lucky to have fresh bread baked from your grandparents and father! Try to make it more often, your soul will thank you 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Milena | Craft Beering June 23, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Your stories about the central role of bread in your family and communities in Italy really speak to me. Same thing in Bulgaria, growing up we had bread with every meal and we always bought fresh loaf daily. Two, because walking home you’d break pieces off and eat them and half a loaf would vanish before you knew it:) The warm milk over pieces of yesterday’s bread in a bowl – called ‘mlechna popara’ in Bulgaria. Some people also add honey. There is a boiled water version – the bread pieces, chunks of feta cheese and a lump of butter, honey and the boiled water poured over it all, called regular ‘popara’. I’ll have to make this gorgeous bread, if it is similiar to what I grew up eating I will be really happy. I can just dip it in olive oil and call it lunch or dinner.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 24, 2017 at 7:54 am

      So glad to have someone that understands and share my experiences! I did not know in Bulgaria there were such similarities, but, then, we’re so close! 🙂 I like the sound of that bread in a bowl! Hope this bread, if you make it, brings you back home… Thank you for your lovely comment!

  • Avatar
    Reply Vicky Chin June 23, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    I love making and eating fresh bread! Who doesn’t? It just makes me feel like home. The smell, the softness, just so warm and comforting. And your recipe is so easy! I like mine with butter too ! Thanks for sharing! 😊

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 24, 2017 at 7:55 am

      I know, Vicky, who doesn’t?? The smell of bread baking in the oven…oh my!…Thank you, and yes, the recipe is pretty easy and makes such a good bread!

  • Avatar
    Reply bergetrk June 25, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I love baking bread. I think it’s probably my favorite thing to bake….and eat! 🙂 This rustic style of bread looks amazing!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta August 15, 2018 at 8:26 am

      Thank you! It is the best smell and such a rewarding feeling! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Natalie Browne June 26, 2017 at 7:46 am

    I’m sold! No kneading and youninly have to let it rise once?! It’s been a while since I’ve made bread, but this recipe looks like a keeper.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta August 15, 2018 at 8:27 am

      Yes! Super quick and easy. It is a keeper in our house.

  • Avatar
    Reply Christine July 10, 2017 at 2:06 am

    I’ve always been a little intimidated to make my own bread but this looks so easy – I’m definitely going to try this out soon!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta July 10, 2017 at 10:06 am

      It is easy! I’ve made it already twice and it comes together in little time and effort. Hope you make it and let me know. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Avatar
    Reply Don Lewers August 15, 2018 at 1:09 am

    Nicoletta, I’m only a novice at bread making, and over the past few weeks I’ve tried quite a few recipes ….. I baked yours this morning, and fair dinkum, it’s a beauty …. came out of my oven, just the way you said it would …. perfect!. Although baked exactly to your recipe, the crust did’nt golden up as I expected, so I’m going to give my dough an egg wash, and sesame seed it next time, I’ll let you know the outcome. Many thanks to you for this beaut recipe …. love it. …. Don.

  • Avatar
    Reply Don Lewers August 15, 2018 at 3:34 am

    Nicoletta, followed your recipe to a tee this morning, and on opening the oven door when the time was up ….. I’d have to agree with you, the result was just how you described, magnifico!
    I’m going to egg wash, and sesame seed the dough prior to baking my next bake, to enhance a golden crust. Thanks a lot for posting Nicoletta, ’cause your recipe’s a beauty!. ….. Don.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta August 15, 2018 at 8:31 am

      Thank you so much for the feedback, Don! Makes us happy 🙂 . Waiting to hear how it comes out with an egg wash and sesame seeds on top! Enjoy your bread, I need to make some more 😉 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Patricia Spaw March 29, 2020 at 8:01 am

    what spices are in it? I don’t see this in the recipe but I thought it would have spices.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 29, 2020 at 8:19 am

      No spices. Just sugar (or honey) to activate the yeast, and salt.

  • Avatar
    Reply Diane April 2, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Looks great but I’m confused about step 6. You said “Transfer the dough on a floured board using a spatula (the floured surface must be facing up)” The floured surface of what, should be facing up? The dough? I’m guessing you mean to kind of slide the dough out of the bowl so the flour you sprinkled on the top, remains that way. Correct?
    I don’t mean to sound ignorant but, I have never used Active yeast before. Only instant yeast for a different no knead bread recipe. I’m assuming they are different?


    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta April 3, 2020 at 12:21 am

      Hi Diane! Thank you so much for your comment. You are absolutely correct. That is what I wanted to say. The use of a spatula is just to help you slide the dough from the bowl to the floured surface while trying to leave the dough “as it is”. About the yeast, there are three different kinds: active dry, instant, and fresh. I find this article here explains it well: Have fun baking!

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