Italian Bread Recipe
This Italian bread recipe has a fluffy, soft, tender crumb on the inside with a chewy crust on the outside. Warm, fresh homemade Italian bread just cannot be beaten!
I don’t remember my mother or aunts baking homemade Italian 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.
Why You’ll Love This
Slathered in European butter, dipped in seasoned olive oil, or just plain it doesn’t get any better.
It’s perfect served along with any of your favorite Italian dishes.
This Italian bread recipe is super easy to make and done in about 2 hours.
So you can make this bread any day of the week.
- Active dry yeast – If using instant, there is no need to reactivate the yeast in warm water.
- Water – You’ll use warm water to activate the yeast and the hot water (not boiling) in the recipe.
- Granulated sugar, olive oil, and 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.
- Measure the flour correctly. Aerate, spoon, and swoop level.
- Warm water in bread recipes needs to be around 110 degrees F. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast, if it’s too cool, it slows the rising process.
- Use the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. The dough hook doesn’t mix this dough well enough.
- Resist adding more flour it will make the bread too dense.
- We like to use our oven light when rising dough. Just turn the oven light on while mixing the dough and it’s warm enough but not too hot to help the dough rise.
How to Make Italian Bread Recipe
We start by proofing the active dry yeast with warm water. The warm water should be around 105 degrees F to 110 degrees F when making yeast bread and using active dry yeast.
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 and 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.
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.
Prepare a cookie sheet or baking sheet with parchment paper.
After the one-hour rise, scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface or large cutting board.
Gently flatten the dough into a rectangle.
Start rolling the dough toward you, jellyroll style. Gently seal, and 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.
Meanwhile, 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. (if you can)
When baking the bread, we found it didn’t make any difference in the outcome of using a pan of water in the oven or even spraying the oven with water.
This is a great recipe because it’s pretty darn simple and is ready in a couple of hours. Fresh Italian bread every day!
Slice and enjoy warm, pillowy soft homemade Italian bread!
When refrigerating the dough it will continue to rise slowly. If you want to refrigerate only do so for up to 24 hours.
You can freeze the dough, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and store in freezer-safe bags for up to 3 months. When ready to bake thaw at room temperature for about 4 hours, then bake as instructed.
Store any leftover homemade Italian bread in an air-tight container or bag at room temperature for about 4 days. For longer shelf life, refrigerate the bread for up to 7 days.
Freeze in a freezer-safe bag or container for about 1 month for best quality.
Other Great Bread Recipes
Italian Bread Recipe
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
- 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.
I’ve made this 3 times and it’s a magnificent recipe only… it’s too molten to roll up. Each time I obey the direction to ‘not add more flour’ but it just spreads out on the baking tray and produces a flatter, broader loaf than a classic Italian shape. If anyone can guide me to a better outcome I’d be grateful.
Hi, David. The dough is very loose. But if you are having a lot of trouble with it try adding a little more flour about one tablespoon at a time until it’s more manageable. Don’t add more than maybe 1/4 cup in total. Let us know how that works for you.
I made just like the recipe except for I substituted honey for the sugar. I used King Arthur’s bread flour.
Maybe your water is too hot?? Try adding a 1/4 cup more flour to your recipe see if that helps!
Why do you say in the recipe 6.5 cups divided, when all you use is about 3 3/4 cups , so misleading, I don’t think you are going to need the other 3 cups just for flouring
Hi, Tammy. Not sure where you are seeing 6 1/2 cups of flour. We use 3 1/4 cups.
This is the first time I have made anything with yeast that turned out wonderful. Better than the bread at the store. Thanks! Now Ill look & see if you have any other bread recipes.
This is the best recipe I have found!!!
Made this tonight for dinner and it was gone quick it was so good. I will never is another recipe.
I made this on Sunday. I got busy and let it rise too long the first time. Then I went out side during the second rise and forgot about it. By the time I looked at it….it was the size it a dinner plate. Had mud all over me so i had my son pop it in the oven. With no egg white on top. This bread was STILL DELICIOUS!! Lol!! Love it! I cant wait to make it the RIGHT WAY!! Thanks for sharing!! jan
First time nice but did by hand second time used mixer and was brilliant – made a mess of the egg wash but the bread so soft and fluffy – thank you thank you