Easy, homemade classic Italian bread with a chewy crust and soft interior. Perfect for sandwiches, toast, breakfast bakes and more!
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) Red Star active dry yeast*
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup warm water (about 110°F)
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes or until yeast is foamy.
- Add 2 cups flour, olive oil and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand 10 minutes, adding just enough of the remaining flour until a soft, smooth and elastic dough forms; OR, increase dough hook speed to medium and knead dough in stand mixer 5 minutes, adding just enough of the remaining flour until a soft, smooth and elastic dough forms.
- Shape dough into a ball; place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise 1 hour until doubled.
- Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, a silicone mat or lightly grease the surface with oil or cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, punch down dough, then carefully shape into a batard/torpedo about 12 inches long. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another 20 to 30 minutes until puffy.
- Use a bread lame or serrated knife to make a few 1/4-inch deep slits in the surface of the loaf. Bake loaf 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.
- If you only have instant yeast on hand, use 1 3/4 teaspoons of instant yeast in place of the active dry yeast.
- Use the highest quality olive oil you have on hand, if possible.
- How to store homemade Italian bread: Leave unsliced bread uncovered (or covered with a tea towel) at room temperature 1-2 days. If sliced, store bread cut side-down on a cutting board at room temperature 1-2 days. Beyond 2 days, store bread in a paper or plastic bag, sealed, at room temperature another 1-2 days. You can also freeze homemade Italian bread in a sealed plastic bag for up to 3 months.
Keywords: traditional bread recipe, soft center bread, easy bread recipe