Italian Bread Recipes …

These delicious Italian bread recipes are easy to make and will please all! Recipes for a basic rustic Italian bread, focaccia, ciabatta, sweet Italian bread, and more!

As always, is proud to be your personal and authentic guide to French Desserts and breads!

Basic Rustic Italian Bread Recipe:

Preparation Time: about 20 minutes
Cooking Time: about 30 minutes
Resting Time: about 2 hours


3 cups Flour
1 pack Dry Active Yeast
1 tsp. Salt
1/8 cup Cornmeal (optional)
1 Beaten Egg (optional)

How to make it:

1. Sift flour into a large bowl. Mix in salt with hand. Move the ingredients to the sides of the bowl, creating a large "well" (an empty space) in the middle.
2. Pour the yeast into the "well" and pour 1 cup of lukewarm water over the yeast. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp. of flour over top. Wait (about 10 minutes) for bubbles to appear in the yeast.
3. Once the bubbles have appeared, you can start to mix together the ingredients (hands work best, but you can use a mixer) to form the dough. The best way to do this, is to gradually incorporate the flour that is "waiting" on the sides of the bowl. Doing it all at once will be too difficult. So, go bit by bit, if it's too liquid, just add a bit more flour at the end. You should finish this "pre-kneading" stage with a round, firm ball of dough. Again, if it's too sticky, add a little more flour.
4. Kneading: remove the bread from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead it by pushing your palms into and then turning it one quarter. Keep kneading and doing quarter turns for about 5-10 minutes, or until the bread is supple and non-sticky.
5. Place the bread in a lightly floured bowl and cover with a damp dish cloth. Let it rise for about 1 hour (depends on the room temperature, you want it to be fairly warm). It should double in size.
6. Re-sprinkle a counter top (or other surface) with flour. Prepare a baking pan by lightly oiling it and sprinkling the bottom with cornmeal (if you don't have cornmeal, just use flour). With your hands, remove bread and place on floured surface. Punch it down once, hard, with your palms. Now, re-shape it into a loaf. Put the loaf on the baking pan. Cover with dish towel and let rise for about 1 hour. It should double in size.
7. If you want, coat the top with the beaten egg. Put in oven at 375°F and bake for 30 minutes (more or less, depending on how much you like it browned).


If your yeast doesn't bubble, it's no longer active or you didn't use lukewarm water. You should start over in this case, because the bread will not rise.

Freezing: If you are planning on freezing the bread, only bake it for 20 minutes. Wait for it to cool, then wrap in tin foil, put in a plastic bag and freeze. When you want to serve it, just preheat oven to 400°F, bake inside of foil for 10 minutes and then remove foil and let brown for about 5 minutes.

More Italian Bread Recipes…

Focaccia Bread Recipe: Follow the same basic Italian bread recipe above. Add 1 cup of Mashed Potatoes during step 3. You should still finish with a smooth non-sticky dough. Right before baking, coat top with olive oil, and sprinkle with large course salt. Bake at 400°F until it is lightly browned.

Focaccia Italian bread recipes present endless serving ideas… use focaccia bread to make delicious Italian sandwiches with vegetables (roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, and others) and Italian meats (proscuitto and others) and Italian cheeses (buffalo mozzarella, gorgonzola, and others). Or, use the focaccia as a pizza crust and add your favorite toppings, stick back in the oven and there you go! Both sandwiches and pizzas can make lovely and complete meals when served with a simple and fresh green salad! Enjoy! Ready for more Italian bread recipes?

Ciabatta Bread Recipe: Follow the same basic Italian bread recipe above. Add 4 tbsp. olive oil during step 3. Form a loaf that is about 1 inch high. Before baking, sprinkle flour on the top of the loaf. Bake at 425°F until browned (about 30 minutes). Enjoy! Ready for more Italian bread recipes?

Olive Bread Recipe: Follow any of the three Italian bread recipes above (basic, focaccia, or ciabatta). Add 1/2 cup olives at the end of step 3. Follow baking instructions as indicated in each recipe.

You can use any ingredient of your choice to make a more original bread by following this same method. A couple of my favorites are sun-dried tomatoes and shredded parmesan cheese. So, don't be afraid to use your creativity. You'll come up with some fabulous combinations!!! Enjoy! Ready for more Italian bread recipes?

Sweet Italian Bread Recipe: Follow the recipe for basic Italian bread above. Add 1/4 cup sugar during step 1. And, add 2 tbsp. Butter and 2 Eggs during step 3. Finally, add 1/4 cup Sliced Almonds and 1/2 cup Candied Dried Fruit also during step 3. Follow the rest of the baking instructions as indicated in the basic Italian bread recipe.
This sweet bread looks particularly festive if you braid the bread. You can do this by forming two or three long cords with the dough and braiding them. Tuck the ends under the loaf. Enjoy!

Fabulous French Dessert Recipes…

If you are looking for some ideas for delicious French dessert recipes, we have got all your favorites and more! Crème brûlée, chocolate mousse, tarte tatin, chocolate éclairs, lemon meringue pie, truffles, fondue, flans, crêpes… and many more! To see our recipe index, click here.

To take a look at some other delicious bread recipes, click here.

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Enjoy these fabulous Italian bread recipes! And… Bon Appétit!