1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, mixing and kneading to make a smooth, very soft dough.
  2. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise at room temperature until puffy but not necessarily doubled (about 1 hour).
  3. After the first rise, deflate the dough and form into a large round or a long loaf. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, or on a piece of parchment, if you're going to bake on a pizza stone.
  4. Cover the loaf with greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for 30 to 45 minutes, until noticeably puffy.
  5. While the loaf is rising, place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat it to 375°F.
  6. When the bread is almost doubled, uncover it and slash the top a few times. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the center measures 190°F when measured with a digital thermometer.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
  8. Store wrapped at room temperature for 4 days, or freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • As a result of reader feedback, as of 7/10/17 we've increased the flour in this recipe from 3 1/4 cups to 4 cups (17 ounces). The greater amount of flour makes the dough easier to handle, without noticeably affecting the bread's light texture.
  • In Tuscany, bread is traditionally served with salty partners like olives, Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheeses, or salt-cured meats like prosciutto. While Tuscan bread is traditionally made without salt, we find that saltless bread tends to taste flat to most Americans; thus we add salt here.