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. 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.
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!