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Homemade Italian Bread Recipe (Easy & Quick to Make)

Homemade Italian Bread recipe has a soft and tender crumb and a delicious chewy crust in just 2 hours. Make classic Italian bread in your own home. Try it today and enjoy the flavor of Italy!

A crusty baguette of Italian bread sitting on a cutting board - Hostess At Heart


Learn how to make delicious Italian bread from home with this easy and quick recipe! All you need is 5 ingredients plus water to make this mouth-watering homemade Italian bread!

Get the best flavor and texture with simple, easy-to-follow instructions and video.

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!

To see my failed attempts scroll beyond the recipe card.

Helpful Items you may need:

  • Baking stone – I own a large one and it 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 – 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 at 450°F, high enough for my bread recipes.

If you have a cooler kitchen, you can turn on your oven for at the lowest temperature for just a couple of minutes and then turn it off. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it proof.

Italian Bread Ingredients

  • Bread Flour. Makes bread with a lighter crumb
  • Sugar. Just a small amount helps the yeast become active.
  • Olive oil. Provides a small amount of flavor as well as a fat that makes bread tender.
  • Salt. I use Fine Sea Salt because I like the way that it dissolves and mixes in with my other ingredients. You can use Kosher salt or even table salt.
  • Yeast. Active dry yeast.
  • Water. Any water that you can drink can be used to make bread. However, I choose to use filtered water.

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. In a large bowl activate the yeast for 5 or 10 minutes with the water and sugar.
  2. Add the remaining flour, salt, and olive oil. Using a wooden spoon stir it together.
  1. Knead the dough for ten minutes.
  2. Roll the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
  3. Proof for 1 hour.
  4. After one hour gently deflate the dough by just pushing your fingertips into it to form a rectangle and keeping some bubbles in the dough.
Top down view of bread dough shaped into a rectangle on a floured bread board.

Fold the dough using the bâtard method (torpedo shape) or a baguette method as follows

  1. Take the right verticle edge of the dough and fold it to the center.
  2. Take the left verticle edge of the dough and fold it to the center meeting the right edge.
  3. Press your fingers over the center seam smoothing it out and creating an indentation down the center.
  4. Using a bench knife, turn the dough onto itself.
  1. Pinch the new side seam together.
Bread dough pulled tight and pinched on the long edge in order to shape a crusty loaf of bread - Hostess At Heart
  1. Place it on a cutting board covered with parchment paper and proof for 20 minutes
  2. Score the bread
  1. Slide the bread onto a baking stone by the parchment paper. If you don’t have a stone you can use a baking sheet turned upside down.
  2. 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.
Front view of a loaf of homemade Italian bread sitting on a cutting board - Hostess At Heart

What makes Italian Bread different?

  1. The difference between French bread and Italian bread is that 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.

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 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.
Two slices of crusty Italian bread stacked on top of each other the top slice is buttered and has a bite out of it - Hostess At Heart

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 holes 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.

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

A slice of homemade bread being buttered on a cutting board - Hostess At Heart

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.

Angled view of a crusty loaf of bread sitting on a cutting board - Hostess At Heart

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!

Sideview of a loaf of Italian baguette sitting on a cutting board with a pad of butter next to it.

Homemade Italian Bread Recipe

Author: Julie Menghini
Learn how to make delicious Italian bread from home with this easy and quick recipe! All you need is 5 ingredients plus water to make this mouth-watering homemade Italian bread!
4.55 from 22 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rise time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword: Italian Bread
Servings: 8


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


  • 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 for 20 minutes, lightly covered.
  • 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.


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.


Calories: 35kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 1gSodium: 323mgPotassium: 14mgVitamin A: 10IUIron: 0.1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

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?Let me know how it was!

If at first you don’t succeed follow the directions.

For my first attempt, I manhandled 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.

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.

I read that the air temperature for proofing bread doesn’t need to be any warmer than 70°F. If you have a warmer kitchen you can just leave it out on the counter covered.

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!

Two loaves of bread showing the difference between French and Italian bread.
Left deflated with no bloom. Right proofed correctly.

Even though my attempts may make you think that this is difficult bread to make. It’s not. It’s an easy Italian Bread recipe that I hope you will try yourself.

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

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

Angeled view of an Italian baguette sliced on a cutting board - Hostess At Heart
Recipe Rating


Tuesday 16th of May 2023

The dough was way too sticky, I made it twice. One as per instructions and one with an additional cup of flour. The one I added to was much better. It wasn't as sticky, I was actually able to knead it. But neither loaves had flavor. Something was missing for sure.

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 17th of May 2023

There are so many reasons that you had different results, Melissa. Did you use bread flour? The first time I made it I over proofed it and got the results you did. I hope you had a chance to read about my experience. The olive oil and salt add delicious flavor to this bread.

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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.

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