A baked loaf of italian bread

Italian Bread Recipe

Warm, fresh homemade Italian bread just cannot be beaten!

Slathered in European butter, dipped in seasoned olive oil, or just plain it just doesn’t get any better.

This Italian bread recipe has a fluffy, soft, tender crumb on the inside with a chewy crust on the outside.

It’s perfect served along any of your favorite Italian dishes.

Italian bread loaf on a black platter

Italian Bread Recipe

I don’t remember my mother or aunts baking homemade bread.

But I do vaguely remember our Great Aunt Mary always showing up with her fresh from the oven homemade bread and crocheted socks! Haha

Yes, crocheted booties and we loved them.

This recipe is super easy to make and done in about 2 hours.

So you can make this bread any day of the week.

slices of Italian bread on black platter

Ingredients Needed for Italian Bread

  • Active dry yeast – If using instant there is no need to reactivate the yeast.
  • Water – You’ll be using warm water to activate the yeast and hot water (not boiling) in the recipe.
  • Granulate sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Bread flour – We find that bread flour yields a more tender crumb but you can use all-purpose flour.
  • Egg – For the egg wash.

How to Make Homemade Italian Bread

We start by proofing the active dry yeast with warm water. When making yeast bread and using active dry yeast the warm water should be around 105 degrees F to 110 degrees F.

If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast, if it’s too cool it won’t activate.

Dissolve the active dry yeast and 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water (110 degrees F).

Let it stand to proof for about 5 minutes. It should be foaming on the top.

bread dough in stand mixer bowl

In a large bowl of a stand mixer combine 1 cup of hot water, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, kosher salt, and olive oil.

Add 1 1/2 cups of bread flour mix on low with the paddle attachment.

Add the yeast mixture and mix on low to combine.

We found that the dough hook for the stand mixer didn’t mix the dough well enough.

Using the paddle attachment was the best way. You can also mix this by hand if desired.

NOTE: You will be using hot tap water, not boiling water. Don’t worry when added to the bowl with the other ingredients it cools down and won’t kill the yeast.

Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour and mix on low until well combined.

The dough will be very sticky at this point. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour.

This bread dough is very soft but should be easy to handle. Resist adding more flour.

bread dough in mixing bowl

Prepare a cookie sheet or baking sheet with parchment paper.

laying out bread dough into a rectangle.
rolling bread dough into a loaf.
tucking in the ends of the bread dough.
Putting a seam on the bread dough.

After the one-hour rise time, scrape the dough out onto a well-floured work surface or large cutting board.

Gently flatten the dough into a rectangle.

Start rolling the dough toward you jellyroll style, gently seal, fold in the two corners after each roll.

Seal the seam and tuck the ends under.

italian bread dough starting its second rise.

Place seam side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk a large egg with 1 tablespoon of water.

cutting slices into an unbaked loaf of italian bread.

After the 30 minute rise brush the loaf with the egg wash and using a bread lame or sharp knife make three or four cuts diagonally across the top of the loaf.

Baked italian bread.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Allow the bread to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. (if you can)

When baking the bread we found it didn’t make any difference in the outcome using a pan of water in the oven or even spraying the oven with water.

A baked loaf of italian bread

Slice and enjoy warm pillowy soft homemade Italian bread!

slices of Italian bread on black platter

Italian Bread Recipe

This Italian bread recipe has a fluffy, soft, tender crumb on the inside with a chewy crust on the outside. It's perfect served along any of your favorite Italian dishes.
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Course: Bread
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bread, italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rise Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 126kcal
Author: DSTR

Ingredients

To Proof the Yeast

  • 1 packet Active dry yeast 2 1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 cup Warm water
  • 1/4 tsp Granulated sugar

For the Dough

  • 1 cup Hot water Hot tap water, not boiling
  • 1 tbsp Granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 3 1/4 cups Bread flour divided

Instructions

  • Dissolve the active dry yeast and 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water (110 degrees F). Let it stand to proof for about 5 minutes. It should be foaming on the top.
  • In a large bowl of a stand mixer combine 1 cup of hot water, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, kosher salt, and olive oil. Add 1 1/2 cups of bread flour mix on low with the paddle attachment. Add the yeast mixture and mix on low to combine.
  • Add the remaining 1 3/4 cup of bread flour and mix on low until well combined. The dough will be very sticky at this point. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour. (This bread dough is very soft but should be easy to handle. Resist adding more flour.)
  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • After the one-hour rise time, scrape the dough out onto a well-floured work surface or large cutting board. Gently flatten the dough into a rectangle. Start rolling the dough toward you jellyroll style, gently seal, fold in the two corners after each roll. Seal the seam and tuck the ends under.
  • Place seam side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk a large egg with 1 tablespoon of water.
  • After the 30 minute rise brush the loaf with the egg wash and using a bread lame or sharp knife make three or four cuts diagonally across the top of the loaf.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Allow the bread to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition

Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

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