easy basic Italian bread sitting on a white cutting board next to a knife
Breads

Easy Basic Italian Bread

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I have always loved bread ever since I was little. This easy basic Italian bread does not disappoint. It has a great texture crust on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. If you love bread then you need to try this super easy Italian bread recipe.

Bread is one of those basic comfort foods adored by many people around the world. Homemade bread is one of the first things I learned how to make when I was a young lad. This basic Italian bread dough can be used for a bread loaf or it also makes great pizza dough. It is very easy to make if I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get baking!

Step 1: Gather the tools and ingredients

In order to make this basic Italian bread recipe you only need the following six ingredients:

  • Hot Water – To activate the yeast. It also is important in building the gluten structure as well as being a good medium to dissolve the sugar. I always used filtered water, since my tap water is nasty tasting.
  • White Granulated Sugar – The sugar will act as food for the yeast as well as give the bread a softer texture. It also helps brown the bread.
  • Yeast – I generally use active dry yeast, but you may also use rapid rise or instant yeast. The yeast is what causes the bread dough to rise.
  • Olive Oil – The oil helps produce a more tender crumb as well as add a bit of flavor.
  • Flour – I generally use bread flour for this recipe but all-purpose flour will work fine. Flour is the main component in traditional bread making.
  • Salt – The salt will help regulate the rise of the bread. It also strengthens the gluten structure of the bread dough. Salt also enhances the flavor.

Tools

Step 2: How to Make Easy Basic Italian Bread

First, start out by prepping the yeast. In a large bowl add the hot water (100 to 110 F/41 to 44 C) then add the sugar and the yeast. Use a whisk or fork and agitate the ingredients a little bit, then allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it gets nice and frothy/foamy. If after 10 minutes, nothing happens, then you will need to start again. Either the yeast was old, bad, or the water was too hot or not hot enough.

Step 3: Olive oil, flour, and salt

adding flour, olive oil, and salt to the Italian bread dough

After the yeast has done its thing, add the olive oil to it. Then add about a cup of the flour. Add the salt on top of the flour and then mix it all in with a wooden spoon or of course you can use a stand mixer.

Step 4: Kneading the basic Italian bread dough

Next, add in another cup of flour and mix that in until the dough forms. Place the dough on a floured surface and pour out the rest of the flour and have it next to the dough. Knead the dough for 8 minutes and add more flour as necessary. To hand knead the dough, place your palm on top of the dough and push down and out, it will stretch the dough a little bit. Then fold it over onto itself turn it a quarter turn and repeat. Or use the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer.

Step 5: Allow the dough to rise

unbaked Italian bread loaf on a silicone mat-line baking sheet being slit with a knife.

Now put the dough into a bowl that has been lightly greased with olive oil. Cover it with a damp towel and let it rise, in a warm place, for an hour or until the dough has doubled. Next, place the risen Italian bread dough onto the floured surface and shape it into one long loaf. This gives it a nice rustic look. Transfer the shaped dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Cover it lightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise another 30 minutes. After it has risen cut slits diagonally on the top of the dough. For a nice outer crust, you can baste the top of it with olive oil.

Step 6: Bake that Italian Bread loaf

Freshly baked Italian bread sitting on wire racks on a wooden table

Bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 400 F/205 C until it is nice and golden brown on the top. After the bread is baked allow it to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Now slice into that yummy easy basic Italian bread.

Can this bread dough be used as a pizza dough?

Yes! This bread dough also makes a very good homemade pizza dough.

How long with the bread dough last?

You can store the bread dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days before using it. Or you may also place it in a ziplock freezer bag and freeze the dough.

How to store freshly baked Italian bread

An ideal way to store a freshly baked loaf of homemade Italian bread is in long paper bags. The paper will help preserve the nice crust. Then just store it at room temperature or in a bread box. Since homemade bread doesn’t have any preservatives it only lasts a few days. But usually, it is eaten by then! It also can be wrapped in a plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for a few months.

easy basic Italian bread sitting on a white cutting board next to a knife
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4.95 from 20 votes

Easy Basic Italian Bread

Homemade Italian bread is so yummy. It is easy to make and only requires 6 ingredients. I have a slight obsession with bread and this bread is amazing. If I can do it, you can do it, let's get baking!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Rising Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: crispy, crunchy, easy, soft
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 118kcal
Author: Matt Taylor

Equipment

  • Wooden spoon
  • Bowl
  • baking sheet
  • Silicone baking mat or parchment paper or kitchen spray
  • Stand mixer with dough hook (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot water 250 mL
  • 1 tsp. white sugar 5g
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast 7g
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil 30mL
  • 2 1/2 cups of bread flour or all-purpose flour 320g
  • 1 tsp salt 5g

Instructions

  • First prep the yeast by heating up the water between 100 and 110 F/40 to 43 C. Add the yeast and sugar and allow the yeast to get foamy. It will take 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the oil to the bowl with the yeast and then 1 cup of the flour. Next, add the salt and mix everything together with a wooden spoon.
  • Now, add in another cup of the flour and mix that in. A tacky dough will form. Place the dough on a floured surface.
  • Knead the dough for 8 minutes adding extra flour as needed. Place the kneaded dough in a large bowl that has been greased with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour or until at least doubled.
  • Pace the risen dough on a floured surface and shape it into whatever bread load shape you want. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel and allow it to rise for 30 minutes.
  • Baste the top with olive oil and bake the Italian bread dough loaf in a preheated oven at 400 F/205 C, for 20 to 25 minutes until it is nice and golden brown on top. The crust on the outside will be firm and it will be soft on the inside.
  • Allow the freshly baked bread to cool for a few minutes on the pan and then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve it and enjoy it!

Video

How to Make Italian Bread | Basic Easy Italian Bread Recipe

Notes

Easy basic Italian bread nutritional facts

Do you like the recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it.  If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.

Here are a few more recipes you may like:

Soft No-Knead Dinner Rolls

Homemade White Bread

Easy Meringue Cookies

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Easy Basic Italian Bread Pin for Pinterest

52 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Matt Great recipe. If I double it to make two loaves do I double the yeast?

    • Thank you so much, Pat!! Only double the yeast if you do two separate batches. If you are doubling it and using the same bowl, only add 1 additional tsp. of the yeast. πŸ™‚

  2. Can I use this as my bread to make home made calzones?

  3. 4 stars
    Best bread recipe I ever had!!
    Bread comes out amazing!!
    ❀️❀️❀️

  4. Carol Zanelotti

    5 stars
    I am the world’s worst baker, but I think, with your relaxed instructions, I MAY be able to do this. Also, for pizza, is it all the same until the end when you would have to spread it out about 1/4 inch?

  5. 5 stars
    Love this recipe easy and delicious. I was wondering if I can add some honey to the dough. If I can how much would I add and when would I add it.

  6. 5 stars
    Your recipe and video was fantastic it was very easy to follow. After 3 failed attempts to make bread, I came across your video and finally made a great tasty loaf of bread. I was wondering if I can add some honey to the dough. If I can how much would I add and when would I add it.

  7. 5 stars
    Easy to follow, and taste is good. Made some yesterday as my trial for the family and it got demolished in 10 minutes, making more today but I’m making the receipe x 3.

  8. 5 stars
    This looks incredible. I’ve never been good at making bread, but I am going to give this recipe a try – thanks for sharing!

  9. 5 stars
    Yummy! I’m gonna try this tomorrow. It’ll go great with soup and salad.

  10. 5 stars
    That Italian bread looks amazing and easy to make. I don’t know the difference in taste since I haven’t tried one before but it looks quite delicious!

  11. 5 stars
    Have had a lot of Italian bread mostly when traveling overseas. Never knew though how to roll it out. Thanks for educating.

  12. this looks so yummy. you make it look like it’s very easy to be made… <3

  13. 5 stars
    Easy Basic Italian Bread is perfect with wine and pasta! It’s convenient and perfect complement. I hope to make it soon.

  14. 5 stars
    Aahhh!!! Easy peezy. I love this. I hope I can make some Italian bread of my own.

  15. 5 stars
    I can only imagine how amazing this tastes because it looks incredible. Imagine adding fresh Parmesan slices to this. I am definitely going to try this recipe. Your recipes continue to get better and better. I just ate lasagna and I feel like this is what was missing from my plate.

  16. You never disappoint me Matt. Another recipe that I can’t wait to try.

  17. I am usually too intimidated to use yeast. But I will try it with this recipe because it looks soooo good!

  18. 5 stars
    That bread looks lush, trying to decide if I would dip it in cheese or eat it as is

  19. This looks so good! I sadly can’t have gluten but I’m inspired to play around with your recipe to make myself a gluten free version. Yay! Thank you for sharing the delicious recipe.

  20. 5 stars
    I love Italian bread please recipe is an oldie but a goodie thanks for it

  21. 5 stars
    That bread looks really good! I love fresh-baked bread. Thanks for sharing such an easy recipe. Some of those recipes are really involved.

  22. 5 stars
    That is fully awesome, man. I love to eat fresh, hot bread right out of the oven with about a pound of butter.

  23. 5 stars
    If I could give this more than five stars, I would! I LOVE freshly baked bread, but I never make it because most recipes are so involved. Yay for easy!

  24. 5 stars
    We love this Italian bread! It’s so soft and fluffy!

  25. 5 stars
    Great info and awesome, easy recipe – thank you!

  26. Always wanting to try new bread recipes! This looks delicious, can’t wait to make it!

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