Skip to Content

Homemade Italian Bread

Sharing is caring!

 Our homemade Italian bread recipe is simply the best. Crispy and golden brown on the outside and airy and soft on the inside, this bread is delicious dunking into pasta sauce or soup or on its own. No matter what you serve with it, it will be a hit with your family.

LET’S BE FRIENDS ON PINTEREST! WE’RE ALWAYS PINNING TASTY RECIPES

Italian Bread slices

This Recipe's Index

What is Italian Bread?

Italian bread comes from Italy. It is a crusty, white bread that is often elongated but slightly wider than French baguettes.

Italians love to enjoy bread with just about every meal. It is the perfect side dish to scoop up extra sauce, dip into soups, or eat with your favorite spreads. 

When you compare Italian bread to regular sandwich bread, you’ll notice a few differences. First, sandwich bread tends to have a soft texture throughout while Italian often has a slightly chewy to crispy crust. 

Also, you typically bake sandwich bread in a loaf pan to help give it shape. When you make Italian bread, you shape it and bake it on a flat surface.

Finally, while you can use both for making sandwiches or toast, you really want to use Italian bread as a side for pastas, soups, and other dinner entrees.

Homemade Italian Bread Recipe Video

Homemade Italian Bread Recipe

Homemade Italian Bread

Homemade rustic Italian bread has a soft, flavorful texture on the inside and a bit of a chewy crust on the outside.

One of our favorite parts is how soft and airy it is. And you will love the fragrant aroma that drifts through the house as you bake the bread. 

Your whole family will be eager with anticipation as it finishes baking.

Italian Bread Ingredients

Homemade Italian Bread Recipe Ingredients

When you make white Italian bread at home, here is what you will need to get:

  • All purpose flour - If you have it, bread flour works great for this too.
  • Luke warm water - You can use a thermometer to get 100 degree F or when it feels neither hot or cold to the touch.
  • Instant Yeast - You can use either packets or loose yeast.
  • Light brown sugar - This helps to activate the yeast.
  • Salt 
  • Olive oil - We find olive oil works best, but another light oil will work too.
  • Cooking spray 
  • Milk for coating - This is optional, so if you follow a vegan diet you can skip it. The milk gives the bread a nice brown coating.

How to make Homemade Italian Bread Recipe from scratch

When you make this Italian bread recipe at home from scratch, here’s what you’ll need to do.

First, prep the dough by following these steps:

  • Add flour, sugar, salt, and oil in a bowl of an electric kneader or stand mixer with a hook attachment.
  • Next, attach the dough hook and mix it on the lowest setting.
  • Once you start mixing, add in the yeast and then gradually start adding lukewarm water. The dough hook will start to knead the dough, but you need to keep it on a low setting. We use speed 2 on our KitchenAid and kneaded the dough for approximately 7 minutes.
  • Next, transfer the hard dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands for a couple of minutes until the dough becomes smooth with a firm, elastic texture.

step by step recipe for homemade italian bread

Once you’ve kneaded the dough, allow it to proof following these steps:

  • First, spray the Inner Pot of the Instant Pot with oil and transfer the dough inside.
  • Next, coat the dough in oil and then close the lid. 
  • Finally, set your pot to yogurt mode and allow it to rise for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
  • Open the lid and punch the dough down.
  • Next, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form a ball.

Once you have formed a ball, you will want to divide the dough into two equal parts. When you have made two balls, use the heel of your hand to flatten one of the balls. 

Next, carefully roll the ball into a tight roll. The shape should be elongated with rounded ends Repeat the steps of flattening and rolling the second ball and then place them both on a sheet, cover with a towel, and allow it to proof again for 30 minutes.

Homemade Italian Bread Recipe step by step instructions

Coat and bake  

Once the bread has proofed for 15 minutes, start preheating the oven to 400 degrees F. When the dough is ready follow these steps:

  • First, coat the bread with milk to give it a nice top coat and color.
  • Next, using a razor blade, slash the dough widthwise about ¼ inch deep, keeping the blade at a 45 degree angle.
  • Before placing the bread in the oven, add a cup of water in an oven safe bowl on the bottom layer of the oven.
  • Next, transfer the dough into the bottom most layer of the over, above the water and bake at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • To make sure the bread is completely done, tap gently on the bottom. It should produce a hollow sound. Also, the bread will havea  golden brown crust.
  • Finally, for a nice crusty bread, allow the bread loaves to cool on a wire rack before slicing them with a bread knife and serving with olive oil, cheese, or your favorite dishes.Homemade Iatlian Bread Step by step recipe

How to fold bread dough

The steps 13 to 18 in the pictures above show you how to fold the bread.

When you fold bread, you need to start by forming the dough into balls. This helps to give the bread a uniform shape as you roll it.

Once the dough is in a round ball, place it on a floured surface. Next, use your palm to flatten the ball. 

Start on one side and roll the dough tightly so that not much air stays in the rolls. Once you roll it, pinch the ends to close them and use your hands to gently shape them.

step by step

How to shape homemade bread dough

If you prefer, you can make different shapes with the bread. Sometimes, Italian bread is made into a round shape. If you like to make the bread round, you can roll the dough into ball shape and bake it as a ball. It will form a nice round shape as it cooks. 

If you want to do something different, you can give the elongated loaf a bit of a bend to so it has a fun curve. 

Whatever you do, just make sure the bread has a mostly uniform width and thickness. This will help prevent one part from drying out or burning as it cooks.

Italian Bread Recipe

How to serve Homemade Italian bread

When you make this Italian bread recipe, you can serve it with just about any entree, soup, salad, or topping you like. Here are a few of our suggestions:

  • olive oil balsamic vinegar dipping
  • bruschetta
  • lasagna
  • as part of a sandwich 
  • bread pudding
  • Texas toast

Crusty Homemade Italian Bread Recipe FAQs

When you make Italian bread at home, check out the answers to some frequently asked questions about making bread.

Which is the best flour to make homemade Italian bread recipe?

We use either all purpose flour or bread flour. Both work really well for making Italian bread. 

Dry or active yeast?

Dry active yeast needs a bit more time to rehydrate compared to instant yeast. We use instant yeast for this recipe, which we find makes it a bit easier to work with.

Secret to a crusty crispy bread?

 When you want a nice crispy crust, make sure you use a cup of water in the oven. The steam gives the bread the nice crust you expect from rustic Italian bread.

How to store homemade Italian bread?

You can store Italian bread at room temperature in an airtight container. Wait until it cools completely and then place in the container. It should stay fresh for about 3 to 5 days.

Can you freeze the bread?

Yes! To freeze bread, first allow it to cool and then wrap it in plastic wrap. Once wrapped tight, place in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Allow it to thaw overnight before using.

How long will the bread stay fresh?

Italian bread should stay fresh in an airtight container for about 3 to 5 days. The nice thing is, you can use stale bread for other dishes like croutons and toast.

Italian Bread Recipe

Pro tips to make the best Homemade Italian Bread 

When you make Italian bread at home, follow these easy tips:

  • Make sure to use a cup of water in the oven for a crispy crust
  • Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack to keep the crust crispy
  • Use the Instant Pot to create a perfect environment for the bread to rise
  • Make sure to shape the bread into a uniform size and thickness

If you love breads, rolls, and crusts, check some of our other favorites on the blog:

Italian Bread Recipe

Let us know what you think

If you make this homemade Italian Bread recipe, let us know how it went! When you make this, be sure to take a pic and tag us on Instagram @dbellyrulesdmind or Facebook @thebellyrulesthemind!

Italian Bread Recipe

Homemade Italian Bread

Yield: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

Our homemade Italian bread recipe is simply the best. Crispy and golden brown on the outside and airy and soft on the inside, this bread is delicious dunking into pasta sauce or soup or on its own. No matter what you serve with it, it will be a hit with your family.

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour or bread flour 5 cups
  • Luke warm water (100 F) 1 ¾ cup
  • Instant Yeast 1 tsp
  • Light brown sugar 1 tbsp
  • Salt 2 tsp
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Cooking spray
  • Milk for coating (optional, but gives a nice color )

Instructions

How to make Homemade Italian Bread from scratch

When you make Italian bread at home from scratch, here’s what you’ll need to do.

First, prep the dough by following these steps:

  • Add flour, sugar, salt, and oil in a bowl of an electric kneader or stand mixer with a hook attachment.
  • Next, attach the dough hook and mix it on the lowest setting.
  • Once you start mixing, add in the yeast and then gradually start adding lukewarm water. The dough hook will start to knead the dough, but you need to keep it on a low setting. We use speed 2 on our KitchenAid and kneaded the dough for approximately 7 minutes.
  • Next, transfer the hard dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands for a couple of minutes until the dough becomes smooth with a firm, elastic texture.

Once you’ve kneaded the dough, allow it to proof following these steps:

  • First, spray the Inner Pot of the Instant Pot with oil and transfer the dough inside.
  • Next, coat the dough in oil and then close the lid. 
  • Finally, set your pot to yogurt mode and allow it to rise for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
  • Open the lid and punch the dough down.
  • Next, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form a ball.

Once you have formed a ball, you will want to divide the dough into two equal parts. When you have made two balls, use the heel of your hand to flatten one of the balls. 

Next, carefully roll the ball into a tight roll. The shape should be elongated with rounded ends Repeat the steps of flattening and rolling the second ball and then place them both on a sheet, cover with a towel, and allow it to proof again for 30 minutes.

Coat and bake  

Once the bread has proofed for 15 minutes, start preheating the oven to 400 degrees F. When the dough is ready follow these steps:

  • First, coat the bread with milk to give it a nice top coat and color.
  • Next, using a razor blade, slash the dough widthwise about ¼ inch deep, keeping the blade at a 45 degree angle.
  • Before placing the bread in the oven, add a cup of water in an oven safe bowl on the bottom layer of the oven.
  • Next, transfer the dough into the bottom most layer of the over, above the water and bake at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • To make sure the bread is completely done, tap gently on the bottom. It should produce a hollow sound. Also, the bread will havea  golden brown crust.
  • Finally, for a nice crusty bread, allow the bread loaves to cool on a wire rack before slicing them with a bread knife and serving with olive oil, cheese, or your favorite dishes.

Notes

Pro tips to make the best Homemade Italian Bread 

When you make Italian bread at home, follow these easy tips:

  • Make sure to use a cup of water in the oven for a crispy crust
  • Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack to keep the crust crispy
  • Use the Instant Pot to create a perfect environment for the bread to rise
  • Make sure to shape the bread into a uniform size and thickness

Follow us for more delicious Recipes !

Did you make recipe? don’t forget to come back and leave your feedback and star rating.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!

error: Alert: Content is protected !!