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Italian Bread

Italian Bread
Flaky crust on the outside, soft on the inside, this Italian bread is everything you want homemade bread to be and more.
Yield 1 large loaf



  • 1 (0.25oz) package (7g) or 2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water (warm, 110-115°F)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand 5 minutes until yeast is foamy.
  • Add 2 cups flour, olive oil and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand 10 minutes, adding just enough of the remaining flour until a soft, smooth and elastic dough forms; OR, increase dough hook speed to medium and knead dough in stand mixer 5 minutes, adding just enough of the remaining flour until a soft, smooth and elastic dough forms.
  • Shape dough into a ball; place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise 1 hour until doubled.
  • Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or lightly grease the surface with oil or cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, punch down dough, then carefully shape into a batard/torpedo about 12 inches long. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another 20 minutes until puffy.
  • Use a serrated knife to make a few 1/4-inch deep slits in the surface of the loaf. Bake loaf for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.


Recipe by Stephanie Wise.

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Review & Comments

Linda L Gross | Reply

Do you have a gluten version of this Italian Bread recipe? My husband is gluten-sensitive to most grains and I so miss baking breads, cookies, desserts for him. Thank you.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Linda – Unfortunately, we don’t have a gluten-free Italian bread recipe. However, we do have a GF section in our recipes, you can find them here: This one is a fan favorite:
Happy baking!

Janice | Reply

5 stars
I’ve made this bread several times. Such a lovely, soft and pillow-y crumb.

teresa simone | Reply

2 stars
This bread is SOOOO dry. As a new baker can you suggest any ideas to make the bread a lot less dry? I’m choking here

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Teresa – It’s possible you added in too much flour. We’d be happy to help troubleshoot. Contact us here:

James | Reply

5 stars
Place a small pan of water on the rack below the baking rack you’re using create moisture in the oven which you are lacking in the bread

Jamie | Reply

Can you use the Red Star instant Quick-Rise yeast with this recipe?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Jamie – Yes, you can substitute it 1-for-1. Keep an eye on the dough, as rise times may vary.
Happy baking!

Michaelangelo | Reply

5 stars
My steady stand-by…easy ….delicious….doesn’t last long here

Shirley | Reply

May this recipe be successfully doubled for 2 loaves?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Happy baking!

Patty Williams | Reply

5 stars
Make this twice a week! I use kosher salt in , same amount. I put a bowl of boiling water below the bread while baking. I sit the pan on top of the stove while oven is heating and while the loaf is puffing up. Best Italian bread recipe ever!

Pat Marselle | Reply

Can I add Sesame seeds to the top? How & when?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Pat – Yes! After scoring risen dough in step 5, brush with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Proceed with baking.
Happy baking!

Miriam | Reply

Can this recipe be made with kosher salt instead? And how much?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Miriam,
Kosher salt volume varies by brand. The standard substitution is to use 1 and 1/4 teaspoons of Kosher salt for every 1 teaspoon of table salt.
Happy baking!

Patti | Reply

Great recipe. I made pepperoni bread using this recipe as the base. Instead of forming it into a loaf, I patted it out into a rectangle, covered it with finely chopped pepperoni and grated Italian cheeses, rolled it tightly and sealed the ends. It was delicious.

PJ | Reply

It’s in the oven now…if it tastes half as good as it smells, it will be fantastic!
My first time making Italian bread…so anxious to try it.
Just took it out of the oven…let it rest on a rack for a few minutes.
Just cut a piece…put butter on it.
And…Yep, it’s good!

Summer | Reply

5 stars
This is a great recipe! I make the dough using my breadmaker. I use 3 cups of bread flour or a high gluten flour. When the dough cycle is done, I shape it and let it rise the minutes on the pan. Then I make the slits and brush it with an egg white wash. Perfect every time!

Celia | Reply

Did you use the same recipe just add more flour to it?

Mary | Reply

I am wondering can you tell me what temperature the bread should be when fully cooked?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Mary,
Bake until temperature reaches between 190 – 200 degrees F.
Happy baking!

Patty P | Reply

5 stars
Been looking for a good Italian bread recipe that was easy and here it is!! Was excited every step of the way making it and it was so hard not to cut it before dinner. Wait, I told myself..and I did. It was well worth the wait. Doubled the recipe and had 2 great loaves of bread to share with the family. This is going to be one recipe I don’t loose. Thanks for sharing something so simple but yummy!!

Judith Mackie | Reply

I used to bake bread every other day, but stopped when kids came along. Baking again and I have Never
Had better Italian bread in my life. So so easy. I wanted to pretend it took all day and complicated, but I couldnt. I had to tell everyone just what a wonderfully easy foolproof recipe it is. Next time I’ll try interesting additions. THANKS!!!

Maryanne | Reply

5 stars
Great bread recipe! It was so easy and quick and came out delicious. I gave it an egg was and sprinkled some everything bagel seasoning on top before baking. It went great with the pasta fagioli for dinner.

Kathy | Reply

5 stars
I tried to enter yo win the new holiday bread cookbook, but could not enter for soon reason. I would love to win one.

Debbie | Reply

5 stars
I was just wondering if anyone would know what kind of spices to add to this wonderful bread recipe? I worked a couple years at an elementary school many many years ago and, they had a recipe for Italian Bread that smelled so good baking that all the teachers came running to eat it before it could be served to the children. It had to sit overnight and had lots of spices in it, but I can’t for the life of me remember the recipe.

Giselle A | Reply

5 stars

Carol | Reply

5 stars
I have baked bread the “manual” way and with two different bread machines over a 45-year period; this is the first time I wanted to post a review. I tried this recipe last night using exact measurements in a bread machine set on French bread, Medium crust color for a 1-1\2 pound loaf. I even set it to bake overnight and woke up to the most wonderful aroma! The loaf looked great and rose perfectly. Great crust, soft inside. Best-tasting Italian bread I ever made! And it’s simple and quick.

Christmas Green | Reply

5 stars
I’m an avid bread baker and this is always my go-to recipe for Italian bread. I double the recipe, put it in my bread machine on dough cycle, then take out to finish loaves, Absolutely delicious!!!!! 2 loaves ready to eat in just a short time!!!!

Leah Brunner | Reply

My dough is rising now! I can’t wait to have it with dinner tonight!

Nancy | Reply

This recipe is a keeper. So easy, low on sugar and tastes great. Thanks for a great recipe.

Chris Thompson | Reply

You have no idea how many times I’ve been disappointed with Italian bread recipes. This one finally, finally nailed it. Just made it once and it was delicious. One thing I did that wasn’t in the recipe was give it an egg white wash, and add some sesame seeds.

When I make it this weekend (with your yeast!) I am going to give it a spray of water right before going into the oven- I like the soft crust but I want to see if I can get it a little crunchier.

Thank you!

Allen | Reply

when your loaf is finished baking just remove it from the pan and place directly on your oven rack. Turn off your oven and crack the door open with a tea towel and let it cool. This will give you that nice “crusty” loaf. Store it in a paper bag to prevent it from softening the crust.

Lisa ZeRuth | Reply

Can you use quick rise instant yeast instead of active yeast?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Lisa,
Yes, substitute on a 1:1 basis, following directions as written. The Quick Rise Yeast may rise faster, so just keep an eye on your dough.
Happy baking!

Efrat | Reply

5 stars
One of the most delicious breads I’ve made.
Soft, with wonderful delicate taste.

Joyce | Reply

Love this recipe. First time I followed the recipe exactly as written and it came out almost perfectly. I baked it for 20 min. At 400 degrees and it could have gone about 3 to 5 min longer. The second time I made it I reduced the white flour by 1/2 cup and used spelt flour instead. Also replaced the sugar with about 2 Tbsp honey, plus a scoop of “super seed” and a Tbsp of vital wheat gluten and came out even better! I also baked it for 2 min longer but still needs to go another 3 or 4 min. Love, Love, Love this recipe! Next time who knows what I’ll add..maybe sunflower and pumpkin seeds or dried onion and dill. The sky the limit!

Linda | Reply

5 stars
This was the first time I made bread, simply fantastic. Thanks for the best recipe for me to start with…

Catherine | Reply

5 stars
I made this to go with dinner tonight. I’ve never made more than my mothers yeast rolls in regards to bread. This was very simple to make & came out so yummy. Definitely want to try this again maybe with some flavored olive oil or add some seasonings to it just for a change.

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