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

Easy Basic Italian Bread

Jump to Recipe

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.


Step 2: How to Make Easy Basic Italian Bread

First, start out by prepping the yeast. In a large bowl add the hot water (105 to 115f F/41 to 46 C) then add the sugar and the yeast, if you are using active dry yeast. If you are using instant or rapid-rise yeast, that gets mixed in with the flour. And the water will be hotter. Just follow the suggested temp on the package of 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 for another 30 minutes.

After it has risen cut slits (scoring the dough) 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 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 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 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
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.91 from 30 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 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Rising Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: crispy, crunchy, easy, soft
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 118kcal
Author: Matt Taylor


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


  • 1 cup hot water 240 mL
  • 1 tsp. white sugar 5g
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast, rapid-rise, instant 7g
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil 30mL
  • 2 1/2 cups of bread flour or all-purpose flour 300g
  • 1 tsp salt 5g


  • First prep the yeast by heating up the water between 105 and 115 F/41 to 46 C. Add the yeast and sugar and allow the yeast to get foamy. It will take 5 to 10 minutes. Skip this if using rapid-rise or instant yeast, that gets added right into the flour. And the water will be hotter. Just follow what it says on the yeast package.
  • 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. Score the top of the dough by slicing it with a knife or lame. See the picture in the post above.
  • 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!


How to Make Italian Bread | Basic Easy Italian Bread Recipe


Easy basic Italian bread nutritional facts
Tried this recipe?Mention @WPRecipeMaker or tag #wprecipemaker!


Calories: 118kcal

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


  1. 5 stars
    It turned out great! The next time, I want to possibly add roasted garlic and/or herbs. But my family loved it!

  2. 5 stars
    I rarely comment on blogs, even though I refer to them often for recipes. However, I made this Italian bread recipe twice this week and it’s been the biggest hit in my household!

    The second time around, I decided to break it into smaller portioned loaves just to see, and they are just so beautiful and cute and yummy.

    I didn’t make any alterations to the original recipe. I have made all sorts of bread for many years and this one is super simple, relatively quick and very easy. This is bookmarked forever!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Matt love your recipes I’m going to make italian bread can I add basil and cheese in mixture.

    Thank you

    • Hi Martha! You can definitely add dried basil to the dough, I don’t recommend adding cheese to the dough. You can make the dough as is, and then while forming it into a loaf you can add cheese to it. But I recommend making it first as is before experimenting. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Hey Matt.

    Thanks so much for this! It’s certainly the best bread I’ve ever made. Two questions for you …

    1) If you’re using a stand mixer, do you let it work for 8 minutes?
    2) I wasn’t sure when to take it out of the oven. I recently made Irish Soda Bread and the recipe said the internal temp should be 195 degrees F. Would that work for this too? I’ve currently got my bread back in the oven after I turned the oven off. It seemed a little ‘doughy’ when I cut it in the middle so I put it back in. If not by temp, how do you know when it’s done?


    Oh, you forgot to mention scoring the loaf in the printed directions.

    • Hi Donna! Good catch, I will have to write that in there. If using a stand mixer you really only need to knead it for 5 to 6 minutes, but it is okay if you do it for 8 minutes. And yes, 190 to 210F is the correct internal temp for bread. I never use a thermometer to test bread, I just bake it until it is nice and golden brown on top. With that said, sometimes the bread will reach that temp but it still won’t be done. So a combination of temp and color is a good way to go. Sometimes it just takes practice with a particular recipe and your specific oven before you get the time down. And you are so very welcome, glad you gave it try! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Best Italian bread recipe ever. I have made 3 loaves this week. Thank you for such a great recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Matt! I just made bread from your recipe for Italian Bread. Everything was going smoothly till Ingot to the last mixing in my mixer. It’s seemed to thin so
    I had to add almost t two additional
    Cups of flour before kneading. I am crossing fingers that it turns out!! Thanks for sharing with us!

  7. 5 stars
    I always wanted to make my own Italian Loaf of Bread now I can. Thank You Matt 😊

  8. 4 stars
    Loved the bread and read that you can make pizza crust with this recipe.
    Can you please let me know how to do this?

  9. 4 stars
    Matt, your bread looks great. If you use rapid rise yeast, the yeast needs to be mixed with the flour, and the water needs to be hotter. I’ve forgotten this a few times and not got good results.

    I’m going to check on my kitchen and I may bake some of this tonight. Thanks for sharing.

    Stay safe!

    • Thanks, Dan! It totally depends on the rapid rise yeast that you use as far as the temp goes, just follow what it says on the yeast package. But yes, rapid-rise or instant yeast or bread machine yeast traditionally gets mixed with the flour. You are welcome!! Let me know how it turns out. I was using active dry yeast in the recipe. But probably should have stated what to do if you use other yeast. I made the edit, so there will be less confusion for those that don’t use active dry yeast.

  10. 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. 🙂

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

  12. 4 stars
    Best bread recipe I ever had!!
    Bread comes out amazing!!

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.