There is nothing better than a loaf of Italian bread made from scratch. Using a few simple ingredients and very little prep time, you will be smelling the signature aroma of baked bread out of the oven in no time. A traditional loaf of bread used for so many things!
If you're on a mission to bake the perfect loaf of homemade bread but don't know where to start, you've found the right place. Sometimes deciding to try something new can get overwhelming but with this easy, step-by-step foolproof method, you'll be a professional bread maker in no time!
This is a yeast bread, so you will have to wait for the rise time but other than that, it's an easy peasy chewy, fluffy bread with a slightly crispy exterior.
Sometimes we just want to have a basket of fresh bread on the dinner table. Break off a piece and scoop up all of the delicious sauces and gravies you're about to eat!
Have a slice in the morning with your favourite spreads, or fill it with your favourite sandwich fillings. There are so many uses for a simple loaf of bread, from grilled cheese to croutons, to turkey stuffing and more. Bake two loaves and freeze one for later or better yet, share with your neighbour.
The aroma of this bread coming out of the oven will transform the way you think about making bread from scratch. Trust me, you will never buy store bought again!
How to make homemade bread
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the all-purpose (or bread flour), sugar and active dry yeast. Make a well in the middle and add the lukewarm milk and olive oil.
Knead with the dough hook, add the water a little at a time, continuing to knead. Add the salt and continue to knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rest. Knead, cover, and let rest again.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand to form into a smooth ball.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, making sure the entire surface is lightly covered in oil.
Once again, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until it has doubled in bulk. This will your longest wait time.
When the rise time is up and your dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl, form into a log shape and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Do not punch the dough down like you may have seen in other breads. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for the last time.
Near the end of the rise time, preheat your oven. Place an oven safe dish on the bottom rack of the oven while it is preheating.
Score your loaf with a sharp knife and pour a cup of very hot water in the pan that you placed in the oven. Right away, place the loaf in the oven and bake until done and your house smells incredible.
Cool on a wire rack and enjoy it in a myriad of ways!
Tips for the best homemade Italian Bread
- Do not over-knead your dough. It will affect the consistency of your bread and you will have a harder time getting the light and fluffy texture you're looking for.
- Make sure your yeast is active. Add a bit in a bowl of warm water with a pinch of sugar. If it completely dissolves, it is still active.
- Warm your milk, do not use it cold. This will help activate the yeast quicker along with the warm water.
- Wet your hands a bit before kneading the dough by hand. The water won't add any weight to your bread like flour does.
How to store and freeze it
If you haven't cut your loaf yet, you can keep it on your counter at room temperature untouched. Once sliced, to avoid moisture loss and having your bread becoming stale quickly, wrap in plastic wrap or an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Freezing homemade bread is great if you've made an extra loaf or if you have leftovers. Once completely cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a Ziploc bag for up to 6 months.
More Delicious Italian Breads
This Italian Bread Recipe is definitely worth trying, let me know if you make it. Enjoy!
Homemade Italian Bread
- 2 cups all purpose or bread flour (250 grams)
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons lukewarm milk 2% (105F / 40C)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup lukewarm water (105F / 40C) (120 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of the stand up mixer whisk together the flour, sugar and yeast, make a well in the middle and add the milk and oil, start to knead with the dough hook, add the water a little at a time and knead 2 minutes (on speed #2), then add the salt and knead 3 minutes until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Cover the mixing bowl with a damn towel and let rest 20 minutes, then knead again on speed #2 for 1 minute. Cover the bowl again and let rest 15 minutes. Knead again for 1 minute.
- Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and knead for 30 seconds and form into a smooth ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to lightly cover in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in bulk in a warm draft free area.
- Form the dough into a loaf (do not punch down), place on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour,.
- Pre-heat oven to 400F (200 C). Place an oven safe pan in the bottom of the oven while the oven is pre-heating.
- Score the loaf, pour a cup of very hot water in the pan, quickly put the loaf in the oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!