Best Ever Italian Bread

READY IN: 3hrs 15mins
Recipe by charps

I found this recipe on a baking blog, and decided it would be my first posted recipe. I don't want to lose this one! Crunchy on the outside, fluffy and delicious on the inside. This recipe makes a HUGE loaf that's big enough to serve at a large family dinner. Don't let the long instructions scare you. It's really easy to make! Enjoy!

Top Review by Scott A.

I have been trying all kinds of bread recipes, all of which say "best ever" or some variation of it, but I think this is the one. The only change I have made is using 2 Tsps of salt instead of 2 1/2. This is the only one I have seen with brown sugar and this is by far the best bread I have made. I have made it 4 times now, each time is a winner. I do make two loaves with the recipe, generally a regular loaf and then I braid one for a twist loaf.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Stir the yeast into lukewarm water and set aside.
  2. Combine 5 cups flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the yeast mixture, remaining water and olive oil. Using a dough hook attachment, mix on lowest speed of electric mixer (stir setting on a KitchenAid) until a dough starts to form, adding more flour as needed. Knead on low speed (2 on a KitchenAid) for 7 minutes. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and need by hand for 1 to 2 minutes, or until a smooth, firm, elastic dough is formed.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and spray the dough with a thin coating of cooking spray. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to proof in a warm place for 1½ hours or until doubled in size. I usually put mine in a SLIGHTLY warmed oven.
  4. Remove the plastic wrap, punch down and flatten the rounded dough with the heel of your hand. Roll the dough up tightly, sealing the seam well after each roll.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425°F and place an empty baking pan on bottom rack. This will be used later to create steam.
  6. Place the dough on a inverted baking sheet that has been dusted with flour. Cover with a towel, for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  7. Brush the dough with the egg white, and then slash the dough lengthwise about 1/4-inch deep in three spots.
  8. Place the pan of dough on the top rack, and pour a large cup of water into the warmed baking pan on the bottom rack.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a hollow thud is heard when tapping the bottom of the bread. Allow the bread to cool before slicing.

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