The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for a good Italian Bread Recipe

vtelf03's picture

Looking for a good Italian Bread Recipe

A Happy Easter evening to everyone!

I'm looking for a god Italian Bread Recipe that I can make without a Bread Machine. I've recently been making rolls and wheat bread and things, but my husband recently asked me to branch out to Italian and I'm not sure what to try. Ideally this bread would be for sandwiches, but even just a good "eating with butter" loaf would be fun to try as well.

I'm not super-experienced, but with a good recipe I tend to do ok. Can anyone help me out?





rolls's picture

hi there's one on this site that looks good, ive been meanining to try it myself. you can find it on favourites list on your left.

jimrich17's picture

Get a copy of Carol Field's Classic book- Italian Baking. She has a range of Italian breads that are wonderful. As a bonus, she gives directions for making them by Processor, Stand mixer, or Hand.


jimrich17's picture

Sorry- I typed too quickly!

The correct title of the book is The Italian Baker by Carol Field ( Harper & Row 1985)

Judon's picture

comes from Eric on this site - he helped me to perfect this bread and I still say "thanks Eric" as I put it together!


I make it every week for my niece and her family so I've altered it a bit to their liking. I use water instead of milk and generally around 7+ ounces of it.

David Snyder makes this bread with a sourdough starter which is also great  - search this site and you'll find his recipe.

It's so fun to bake successfully - you'll love this one.



Mustang 51's picture
Mustang 51

I have been in search of a good Italian bread recipe for about a year. Most of the recipes look about the same. I have tried several and tweaked some of them with no luck. Even though some of them look very nice, I think they taste like prison bread. How does this bread compare with what I might find at an Italian bakery? They look good in the picture. I would hate to get stuck with two more loaves of prison bread. Of course I could halve the recipe.


Judon's picture


It's hard to comment on how this recipe compares to an Italian bakery since some I've come across in bakeries are just a variation on Wonder bread!

The differences as I see it are in the shade of the crust - these are richer and browner - you can control the color with oven temp and time - and the color of the crumb. Unbleached flour will not produce a white, white crumb.

We just returned from Italy and had some amazing and not so amazing bread. The amazing bread had well developed flavor, open crumb and thick crusty, crusts.

This recipe has well developed flavor, open crumb and thick crusty, crusts but tastes very different. Believe me, prison bread it's not. (Although I can't speak fom experience.)

The outcome will depend on the type of flour you use. I use honey instead of sugar and like the effect it has on the crust.

Everyone who has tasted this bread raves about it. It's rather easy to put together and there's plenty of help here to guide you along. I hope you give it a try...and let us know how it went for you.


Mustang 51's picture
Mustang 51

Thanks for the reply Judy.

I have never been to Italy, but I do love the Italian bread we can find in the Milwaukee area. It is nothing like Wonder bread. (I wonder why it won't even grow mold.) My preference is for a more even crumb, but that is just what I am accustomed to. The bakery breads have a wonderful flavor and a nice crust. Even the ones we get at some of the supermarkets are surprisingly good.

Quite honestly, for $2-3 per loaf, I don't know why I try. It must be to justify the mixer I bought for no apparent reason. I don't make bread as often as many of the people on this website because I am trying to have a life. It seems to take up an entire day when I bake bread. This weekend is out, but I think this may be my next try. I will have to get some diastatic malt. Maybe it is the missing link.


jswife0909's picture

I use this recipe all the time,  if you are short on time use the dough cycle of your bread maker for the start and first rise then raise on a baking stone and bake. Otherwise knead by hand for 15 minutes, let rest 5, knead ten more minutes let rise. Pound down, rise again.  I have found if you dont knead it enough it does not come out right but that could just be my kneading skills so I cheat with the dough cycle of my bread maker, comes out perfect every time,  lol

1 cup warm water

1/2 tsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp instant yeast

Put these in first, then add

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tbl olive oil (evoo)

3 cups bread flour (switch to 1 cup of all pourpose, 2 bread flour if you want a lighter crumb) have an extra 1/8 cup of flour ready if dough is too wet, if it sticks to the side of the breadmaker while kneading it will flatten out while rising and you will get a flat loaf. Sprinkle more flour in.  I am not a pro like most of the people on this site, but this recipe is my favorite even if I do cheat, lol

Sprinkle baking stone with cornmeal.

Let it go through dough cycle, take out of bread maker gently from into flatish, (don't press too hard) rectangle, roll up, place on baking stone with seam on bottom and a little bit of the ends tucked under, spray with pam or the like (I use spray olive oil) cover and let rise until doubled.  A cake carrier top works great to hold in heat and moisture place over the top of the dough while rising. After it has risen brush with egg, add sesame or poppy seeds, or nothing at all.

preheat oven to 475 F

Depending on your atltitude and oven, bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump the bottom. Place on wire rack to cool.

I bake this bread all the time, family loves it.

This recipe also works for pizza crust (also made in bread maker dough cycle) except add 1/2 tsp more of salt and 1 more tbl of Olive oil.

gaaarp's picture

I just tried the Italian bread recipe in "Secrets of a Jewish Baker" by George Greenstein last weekend.  It came out great -- excellent flavor, nice crumb and crust.  I ended up with three loaves and figured it would end up in bread pudding or going out to the birds, but we managed to eat all three of them.