This classic Italian bread recipe is soft and tender on the inside with a chewy crust on the outside. Homemade bread doesn’t get much better — or simpler — than this!
(NOTE: This post was originally published in 2014 (!). We’ve since then updated it with new photos, but it’s the same recipe you know and love.)
Reading: How to make italian bread
How to Make Italian Bread from Scratch
Sometimes I wish I had one of those potions from Alice in Wonderland so I can make myself small enough to lay on a slice of this Italian bread like a pillow. A heavenly soft, carbolicious pillow.
But seriously, how wonderful would that be? Because not only are you totally comfy-cozy, you also have a snack right there to munch on as needed. And then when you want to eat the bread as a sandwich or make it into a yummy baked French toast or strata or something, you can take the potion that makes you big again. It’s perfect.
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Aaaaaand I’ve lost you. But homemade, soft-on-the-inside-crusty-on-the-outside classic Italian bread, remember? Yes, let’s focus more on that.
Ingredients You’ll Need
I am fairly certain that whenever I went to my grandma and grandpa’s house as a kid, my snack diet consisted of snap peas from the garden, kohlrabi stalks (no, really, so good) and sliced Italian bread from the bakery plain or with my grandmother’s plum jam on it (that is truly one of the best things about life ever, and I hope I can get the recipe one day to share it with you). So when Red Star Yeast asked me to make a loaf of Italian bread using their yeast, I was happy to take it on because nostalgia. And homemade bread. It was a no-brainer.
I was a little nervous that my recipe wouldn’t taste quite the same as what I remembered eating as a youth — that soft, aforementioned pillowy center with a perfectly chewy, flaky crust — but my friends, this recipe is just that and it is a glorious thing. It really doesn’t take much time, effort or ingredients to get there, either. Just a little:
- Flour (bread flour or all-purpose flour works for this recipe!)
- Yeast (Active dry yeast or instant yeast — see Recipe Notes for conversions!)
- Olive oil
- And a little know-how on shaping it into a batard/torpedo loaf (which I show in the photo above, but is also very well-explained by the great Peter Reinhart in this video)
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And just like that, you’re well on your way to homemade bread blissdom.
How to Enjoy Italian Bread
So in conclusion, I’ll be making a loaf of this bread on the regular this fall and the Season That Shall Not Be Named. And it will be taking any and all of the following forms: Sandwich, strata, bread pudding, French toast, baked French toast casserole, croutons, grilled cheese, toast. Surely I am missing more options, but that’s just for starters.
Of course, just eating slice after slice plain (as I may or may not have done once this loaf was cool enough to cut into) is going to happen a lot, too.
If this crisp-cool weather (or in my great state of Minnesota, the weird summer-after-fall weather we’ll be having) has got you bit by the baking bug as it has me, then put this easy homemade Italian bread on your list. You can thank me for it later, with a sandwich.
Disclosure: I received compensation from Red Star Yeast for recipe development purposes. All opinions are my own.
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