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6 Ingredient Italian Bread Recipe

Homemade Italian Bread is a Crusty Italian Bread recipe that uses only 6 ingredients and bakes up with a soft center and a delicious chewy crust. It’s quick to make in just 2 hours!

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPGRADED FROM 4/11/17 TO IMPROVE READER EXPERIENCE.

Rustic loaf of Italian bread sitting on a bread board with an antique knife and linen napkin and a banner with recipe name in the corner

This easy Italian bread recipe has a crusty exterior and a soft and tender melt in your mouth interior crumb. It’s quick to make in just 2 hours and uses only 6 ingredients.

I first made this Homemade Italian Bread recipe as a part of a bread challenge group that I participated in.

The theme was “Bread from Italy”. This excited me because my hubby’s papa is 100% Italian and John is half (Irish is the rest of the mix). Since I’m related by marriage to this wonderful country, homemade Italian bread should be simple right?

I’m not sure what part of Italy this Classic Italian Bread recipe comes from. If I were to guess I would say Puglia or the southern part of Italy.

John’s family is from the north so maybe that’s my excuse for flunking this Italian bread recipe the first 3 times I made it! Slow-learner me!

Homemade Italian bread loaf sliced showing a white tender crumb with a golden crispy crust.

For my first attempt, I man-handled it and thought that was the reason it “deflated” before I had it in the oven. The second time it deflated again as soon as I scored it.

When I started researching what I could be doing wrong, I found that I was either over-proofing my bread or proofing it at too warm a temperature. I would say, I was doing both!

My biggest problem in making this “Simple” Italian bread is over-thinking it. The recipe stated to proof it for one hour for the first rise and 20 minutes for the second.

Homemade Italian bread slice with a bite taken out of it showing a white tender crumb and golden crust over a wooden cutting board.

I proofed it like I do other yeast bread recipes which is 60 to 90 minutes for the first rise and 60 minutes for the second.

Also, I covered my dough with plastic wrap and set it in my oven that I had just barely warmed. I read that the air temperature for proofing bread doesn’t need to be any warmer than 70°F. Oops!

How to make Homemade Italian Bread

On the third go-around, I followed the directions to the letter. A novel idea don’t you think?

  1. After one hour I gently deflated it by just pushing my fingertips into it to form a rectangle and keeping some bubbles in the dough.
  2. Fold the dough using the bâtard method and place it on a cutting board covered with parchment paper.
  3. Proof for 20 minutes
  4. Slide the bread onto a baking stone using the parchment paper. If you don’t have a stone you can use a baking sheet turned upside down.
  5. For a Crusty Italian bread recipe mist the walls of the hot oven with a spray bottle filled with filtered water to create steam.
    • *NOTE cover the glass of your oven door with a dish towel first. Water dripping on the glass can cause it to shatter.

After the third attempt, this Italian bread recipe came out beautifully. You can see how the scores “bloomed” which didn’t happen on the earlier attempts.

Note to self, simple can be delicious! John loved the flops, but he really loved the successful attempt!

Comparison of two loaves baked with different techniques. The first loaf is spread out and has a soft crust. The second is a crusty baguette.
Left deflated with no bloom. Right proofed correctly.

Even though my attempts may make you think that this is a difficult bread to make. It’s not.

I just got in my own way which is generally the case. If at first you don’t succeed follow the directions.

What makes Italian Bread different?

  1. What is the difference between french bread and Italian bread is Italian Bread Recipes can contain milk, olive oil, and sometimes sugar that other countries such as France do not.
  2. Classic Italian Bread is often baked in a stone oven rather than an electric oven.

Don’t forget to pin this homemade bread recipe to your favorite board!

Half of a loaf of Italian Bread on a wooden cutting board. A pad of butter in a white dish sits next to the bread with a grey linen napkin in the background. The title "Italian Bread Recipe" runs across the top right.

In my humble opinion, homemade bread is so much better than store-bought. It’s better to freeze part of a loaf than to let it go to waste.

If you can’t use this bread in one to two days, freeze it in an airtight bag and then wrap with foil. You can also revive a bread going stale.

How to Heat or Revive Homemade Italian Bread

If you’re reviving bread that’s gone a little stale or thawing frozen Italian Bread, the following tips work.

  1. To revive bread that’s been frozen, let it thaw uncovered at room temperature out of the bag. If the crust isn’t moist from thawing, mist it with water.
    • For stale bread mist it and continue with the following.
  2. Put the damp bread in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Larger loaves can take a little longer and smaller Italian Baguettes take a little less.
  3. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

What you can make with Italian bread

Homemade Bread Croutons or bread crumbs are amazing. Here are a few more amazing ideas!

Can I substitute All-Purpose flour for the Bread flour?

You sure can! Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour so the dough is a little tighter with smaller wholes in the crumb.

Either flour works well in this recipe. This site is helpful if you want to read up on flour and what different substitutions can make to your bread recipe.

Active Dry Yeast versus Instant Yeast

The difference is actually just the size of the granule. Active Dry Yeast has a larger granule that must be dissolved in water before using it. This is also known as proofing the yeast.

Instant Yeast, also referred to as Rapid Rise has a smaller granule and can be mixed right into your other ingredients and doesn’t need to be proofed first.

Both dry yeasts are capable of two separate rises and can be used interchangeably. The two separate rises are required with the Active Dry Yeast whereas the second rise can be skipped with the Instant Yeast.

Other additives are added to the Instant (Rapid Rise) yeast to make the dough rise faster.

Helpful Items you may need:

  • Baking stone – I own this particular one because it’s large and works well for longer loaves like this one. You can use it on the grill too but I just keep it in the bottom of my oven because it’s heavy!
  • Unbleached Parchment Paper – This is my favorite parchment paper. It’s important to know that there is an oven temperature rating on parchment paper. If you exceed it your parchment paper can catch fire in your oven. This one is rated to 450°F, high enough for my bread recipes.

We LOVE baking bread! You can find all of our bread recipes here!

Here are a couple more recipes that use dry yeast I think you’ll like!

If you like this recipe, we would appreciate your comment and a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review!

Half of a baked baguette sitting on a wooden cutting board. A pad of butter in a white plate and an antique knife sit beside it. A linen napkin is in the background.
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4.74 from 15 votes

Homemade Italian Bread Recipe

Homemade Italian Bread is a Crusty Italian Bread recipe that uses only 6 ingredients and bakes up with a soft center and a delicious chewy crust. It's quick to make in just 2 hours!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Rise time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings 8
Author Julie Menghini

Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 teaspoons yeast *active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water like bath water
  • 2-1/4 cups bread flour divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  • Combine *active dry yeast, sugar, and water. Allow it to sit for approximately 5 minutes or until bubbly. If you are using instant years, there's no reason to let it sit and get bubbly.
  • Add 2 cups of flour, salt, and olive oil to the yeast mixture and stir until combined with a wooden spoon.
  • Lightly flour a working surface and knead bread together until soft and silky. Approximately 10 minutes. Form a ball with the dough and put it into an oiled bowl, turning the dough once so it’s oiled on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. If using a baking stone, put it in the oven while preheating.
  • After 1 hour, turn the dough out onto a floured working surface. Gently deflate with your fingertips and form a rectangle. Form the dough into a batard or torpedo shape and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Alternatively, place it on parchment paper on a hard surface like the back of the baking sheet, pizza peel, or bread board. Set it aside to rise 20 minutes.
  • Score the bread 1/4″ deep with a lame or sharp knife and place the bread in the oven. Optionally spray the oven walls with filtered water to create steam.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.

Video

Notes

Recipe originated by Girl Versus Dough
*If you are using instant yeast, you don’t have to wait for it to activate as indicated in the 1st step of the instructions.

Nutrition

Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 323mg | Potassium: 14mg | Vitamin A: 10IU | Iron: 0.1mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!

How about diving into bread that requires a starter? You can get started by Making Your Own Starter. The first bread that I would recommend is our Overnight Sourdough.

If you’re already into using wild yeast bread, you’ll love our Multi-Grain Wheat Bread, No-Knead Sourdough Bread, and our Spelt Sourdough bread.

Pin this Easy Italian Bread Recipe

A two photo collage for Pinterest. The bottom photo is half of a loaf of Italian Bread on a wooden cutting board. A pad of butter in a white dish sits next to the bread with a grey linen napkin in the background. The photo on the top is a stack of sliced Italian bread. The top piece has a bite taken out of it. The cut loaf is in the background. The title "Italian Bread Recipe" runs through the center.
Recipe Rating




Jean

Thursday 10th of June 2021

I have a fan-forced oven so would I put it on 200 Celsius and what level in the oven would I put it at the bottom of oven, the top or in the middle? Thank you for the recipe.

Julie Menghini

Saturday 12th of June 2021

I cook everything on "convection" and on the middle rack.

Julie

Friday 18th of September 2020

Followed directions and had a very wet dough, even after adding more flour the baked bread had no flavor and was dense as a brick. I have made many loaves of bread and like to try new recipes but this one is terrible.

Julie Menghini

Sunday 20th of September 2020

Hey, thanks for sharing. This isn't a typical result. Not sure where your bread went wrong. If you'd like to expound on your comment, maybe I could help.

David M Norman

Wednesday 26th of August 2020

Julie, what a great flavor! I think bath water should be about 104F and so I used that temperature H20. The dough came out VERY wet and stayed that way after 10 minutes of kneading (dough hook). Before the 1st hour was up the dough was bubbling looking very much like my starter about 3 hrs after feeding. I turned it out at about 50 minutes and it was still quite sticky. I shaped the bread, let it rise the instructed 20 min, scored it, and popped it onto the stone. Let this serve as a reminder to other rookie bakers like me. If your are going to use a stone, make sure that you have it in the oven, heating for at least an hour! The bottom of my loaf was not completely done. and I did not get a good oven spring. Thanks for the recipe. Taste is great! Dave N.

Dave Norman

Thursday 27th of August 2020

Julie, thanks for your reply. I realized this morning that I had miss-calculated the weight of flour looking at the “ missing” 1/4 cup of flour, and had a shortage of flour in the recipe. Tried it again today with the correct amount of flour and used my dough hook for 10 minutes. The resultant loaf was still flat. I’ll try tomorrow with a 1/8 cup addition of flour and hand knead for 10 min. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Julie Menghini

Thursday 27th of August 2020

Hi David! Thank you for sharing your experience. I usually don't go as warm as 104F more like 98-99F. You refer to your starter. Did you convert this dry yeast to sourdough starter? Your tip on the stone is spot on, and another tip is to make sure it's not so long that it's difficult to transfer to your stone too. I appreciate your tips, Dave. You're helping all of us.

Kathleen Pope

Monday 1st of June 2020

Such an informative recipe, the bread turned out so delicious and I personally love that you share your flops and triumphs!

Julie Menghini

Monday 1st of June 2020

Thank you, Kathleen! We all start as beginners, right?

Kathleen

Monday 13th of April 2020

Hi I made this recipe and let me tell you I tried all kind of breads I didn't care too much of it. This is the best I ever tasted and made it. I'll be making this recipe a lots. I hope you have more recipes that is just as good as your bread are. I'm so glad I found your recipe..

Thank you Kathleen

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Thank you, Kathleen! Let me know what you're wanting to make and I'll definitely add it to my must-make list.