You want to make bread with crust that is crunchy, dough that’s fluffy, with just a bit of that Italian twang?
It’s easy to be scared of messing up when you haven’t practiced enough or don’t have a bread machine – especially if you’re too busy to struggle through a complicated set of instructions.
But don’t worry; with this recipe, you’re good to go! You’ve found an Italian bread recipe that is easy and quick and doesn’t even need a bread machine.
You most likely have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now, so if you’re craving some carbs – let’s go!
Italian Bread Recipe
- 5 1⁄2 – 6 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ oregano (or more, depending on your preference for taste. You can even swap it for basil)
- 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 teaspoons quick active dry yeast (2 packages)
- 1 tablespoon butter or 1 tablespoon margarine, softened (this part is important, the dough gets lumpy and gross if not softened)
- 1 3⁄4 cups very warm water (120 -130 F)
- Cornmeal – just a dash
- Light olive oil
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon cold water (try setting a few ice cubes aside)
To start, gather your ingredients together and start mixing in the 1 ½ cup of flour, and all the sugar, salt, oregano, and non-dissolved yeast (quick dry active yeast will cut your cooking time down).
Once that’s mixed well into a smooth concoction, add the butter, but remember you have to soften it first! Otherwise, mixing will be next to impossible.
Keep mixing until everything reaches a nice and even blend, the texture reminiscent of something soft and pliable.
Now, moving on to the next step, you need to gradually add the warm water to the bowl, careful not to splash any on you – it’s hot!
Then, beat it all together for two minutes at a medium speed, or steadily if you’re preparing this by hand. You may have to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure that everything’s properly mixed.
Add in the last ¾ of the flour. If your dough is not stiff, add additional flour until it holds its doughy shape. Be careful here – a light touch is all that’s needed.
Now, you will need a flat, clean counter (with or without a board), which is lightly floured to prohibit the dough from sticking to it.
Place the dough on the pre-floured surface and fold the dough around. Knead until it is smooth and elastic, without lumps or it bouncing back when you tug. This will take about eight to ten minutes depending on your kneading skills.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and then a fluffy towel. Wait 20 minutes (you can clean up or catch the rest of your show – whatever you want).
If you chose not to use the active yeast, this wait time will be longer, but since you’re looking for a recipe to be quick, we’ll assume you’re in a rush.
This will be a moment for you to catch your breath – maybe make sure you aren’t missing any steps!
After that resting time, you will now divide the fluffy risen dough into two pieces. Roll each of them into a flat rectangle that’s a couple inches thick and then grab a rolling pin. Take it to the dough.
Once you have your flattened rectangle of dough, pick up the wider side and roll it tightly towards the other end until you have a nice log, pinching off the end to seal it all together.
Now that you have your dough molded into a bread shape, place them in separate, lightly greased bread pans, and sprinkle both with cornmeal to create authentic-looking rustic bread.
Brush the dough with olive oil and, if you need to wait to bake, you can place the dough in the fridge for up to two hours.
Otherwise, if you want your crunchy fresh bread ASAP, make a few slashes diagonally across the bread with a sharp knife or razor-blade.
Now, place your bread in a preheated oven of 425 degrees and let bake for 20 minutes.
After those 20 minutes have passed, crack open the oven and tug your bread out so you can brush it with the egg white beaten with cold water, and return the loaves of bread to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes of baking – or until the loaves are golden-brown, whichever comes first.
The video below shows how to make Italian bread.
There you have it! A quick and easy Italian bread recipe your friends and family are sure to love.
Its ingredients are authentic, its cooking time short, and it yields two loaves perfect for a family of six or more.
Feel free to experiment with the dry ingredients, you can add or supplement whichever Italian herbs you want to.
Have you tried making homemade Italian bread?