This easy Italian bread loaf is perfectly soft inside and slightly crisp on the outside. And it is made with a handful of pantry staples.
Italian Loaf Bread
This classic loaf is incredibly versatile and makes a great sandwich bread.
Eat as it is with a pat of butter. Or try it with your favorite family dinner.
Serve it with a hearty soup soup or make a cold cut with your favorite meats and cheeses. But it really can be paired with just about anything!
Tips for Making this Bread Recipe
If you are new to bread making, I have a great list of tips for beginners. Find it here: Bread Making for Beginners.
This recipe is fairly simple to put together. But it does require some effort – kneading & rise time are a part of the bread making process.
And it is a bit therapeutic for me. There’s something a bit satisfying about making a loaf of bread from scratch!
Kneading properly is super important to create a great loaf of bread.
Begin By Gathering the Ingredients
You’ll need a handful of basic pantry staples for this recipe.
It saves a lot of time and energy when making any recipe, to prepare all ingredients before following the rest of the instructions.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- all purpose flour
- active dry yeast
- warm water
Here’s some more helpful tips. And the complete recipe is found at the end of this post.
After kneading the bread dough ingredients, allow to rise until double in size.
After the dough has risen, divide the dough in half and shape into loaves. Then allow to rise again.
After the bread has risen again, make 4 shallow cut lines across the top of the loaf. Then brush with the milk to help create a golden crust.
If you want a more golden or crisper crust, use an egg wash instead.
Bake until golden. And allow for the loaf to cool before slicing.
This Italian bread loaf slices up really nicely.
Tip: if you don’t have a bread knife, a sharp serrated knife works well.
- 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tablespoon whole milk for brushing the bread dough
- In a large bowl (stand mixer bowl works great for this), dissolve the yeast with the warm water and then stir in the honey. Add in half of the flour and the salt.
- Mix together using low speed to combine and then increase to medium speed for about 3 minutes.
- Add remaining flour to the mixer and combine.
- Lightly flour your countertop and place dough ball on surface. Knead by hand for about 8-10 minutes. You could also use the stand mixer to "knead" the dough ball using a dough hook. The time may need to be reduced. Check on it periodically and test for for smoothness and elasticity.
- Add the dough ball to a lightly oiled bowl, turn the dough around to lightly grease, and cover bowl with a tea towel. Allow to rise until double in size (about ½ hour to 1 hour).
- Punch down dough and turn onto a lightly floured countertop. Divide the dough in half and shape each into a loaf.
- Lay each loaf on a greased baking sheet, seem side down or use parchment paper for ease of cleaning!
- Cover and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut a few shallow lines on the top of the loaves. And then brush the loaves with milk to just lightly coat the tops and sides.
- Bake for 30-38 minutes, until golden brown.
- Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.