Italian Bread

Do you know what “Italian Bread” means? Italian bread is typically known as unsweetened, yeast-leavened, and baked into a thick oblong loaf with tapered ends. Recently, I have been baking this Italian Bread  twice a week. After constantly practicing for more than 10 times, the result turned out very good and I even got full approval from my Italian friends.  So what are you waiting for? You are going to have so much fun with this!

Wheat flour, salt, fresh yeast, sugar, lukewarm water and extra-virgin olive oil


  • 500 g wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 25 g fresh yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 250 ml lukewarm water
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  • Fresh yeast
    It is also known as compressed yeast or cake yeast. 25 g of fresh yeast can be replaced by one package of active dry yeast, which usually corresponds to 2 1/4 teaspoons (1/4 oz).
  • Lukewarm water
    It is tap water at a temperature between 36.5 and 40.5°C (98 to 105°F). It is just like “room temperature”: not hot and not cold either! If not, the yeast will die or will not grow enough!
  • Find a warm place for the dough
    Some ideas: near a heating vent, on top of the refrigerator, or in the oven (turned off) with some water in a small bowl (this is what I do).

This recipe is adapted from GialloZafferano. This Italian food website has so many useful videos and some of them are also in English.

Fresh yeast and sugar

Yeast loves warm water and sugar

Yeast mixture

I know that you are wondering where to get fresh yeast. Well, probably it depends on where you are. I have never seen fresh yeast in any grocery store in Texas, for instance. However, it can be found very easily in Italy or Finland. I have also tried this recipe with active dry yeast. The result was fine, however, fresh yeast works faster and has a better smell than active dry yeast. More information about yeast is available here.

Wheat flour and salt

Mix all ingredients…

 …with a spoon

Mix well by hands

Time to proof

Doubled volume

Shaping the dough

After the second rise

Baking time

Beautiful Italian Bread


  1. In a small bowl, crumble fresh yeast with your fingers. Add sugar and lukewarm water. Mix thoroughly, and let rest for about 5 minutes (you will see a lot of bubbles on the surface of the yeast mixture).
  2. In a large bowl, add flour, salt, olive oil, and the yeast mixture. Stir with a spoon until you cannot see any more flour.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a clean, slightly floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes to form a smooth and soft dough. If necessary, add some more flour, but try to use as little as possible.
  4. Place the dough in another large bowl (slightly greased with olive oil) and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set it to rise in a turned-off oven with warm water in a small bowl for about an hour and 30 minutes, or until it doubles in volume.
  5. After the first rise, dump the dough onto the counter, and punch it down gently. Form into an oval-shaped loaf, and cut slashes on top of it as you desire. Make sure that slashes are not too deep; about 1 cm (1/3 inch) is enough.
  6. Let the loaf rise again at room temperature on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F).
  8. Bake for 25 minutes and reduce to 180°C (350°F) for 20-25 minutes or until slightly dark brown.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.

With butter

With cheese sampler

With fresh mozzarella, tomato, red onion, and speck

Here is the Italian Bread with a cheese sampler and a gourmet sandwich.

If you like this recipe, you might also be interested in how to make Anise Almond Biscotti.

Buon appetito!


38 thoughts on “Italian Bread

  1. Pingback: The Secret To Making Real Italian Bread « jovinacooksitalian

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  4. 哇,真好吃的东西啊!!

    • 해석입니다.ㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎ
      지난번에 얼굴을 보지 못했지만
      만든 음식들은 진짜 맨저님이랑 똑 닮아서
      여기 찍은 사진들을 보니까, 맨저님 이쁜 얼굴이 떠오르네요.
      ㅎㅎ 이음식들도 맨저님 처럼 생기있고,예쁘고,궁금증을 유발해요 ㅎㅎ
      진짜 존경하고 사랑해요!!!

    • Thank you for your nice comment! I’m doing my best.. English is not my first language so, honestly I’m still strugging with.. 😉 but It’s fun.. and I love to communicate with English speakers because I feel like my world is much bigger than somebody who can not speak English..hahaha

    • I thought it couldn’t be done.. took forever…. I’m too slow to learn something especially related technology stuff… such kind of computer uplord, downlord.. but anyway I made it!! hopefully next one will be easier! Thank you so much as usual!

  5. Did you know that the traditional and common bread found in the Tuscany “forno” or bakery shop is made with just flour, yeast and water – they don’t even use salt it the bread. Legend has it that the church, in order to punish the Tuscan’s for some transgression, blocked the import of salt to Tuscany. And the Tuscan’s, with there ever so stubborn personality, simply made bread without salt and continue to do so even today. Love your photos, thanks for stopping by our blog.

  6. Hi!
    Thank you for your “like” notification on my blog!
    …your bread looks really really nice!!
    I think you’re really clever, and I could learn something from you, to cook Italian dishes (even if I’m Italian!).
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. My goodness, those are beautiful photos! And you showed us how to bake something?! I feel spoiled. Great post, thank you! Oh, and that last picture of the sandwich . . . Well, what time was it you said you wanted me over? 😉

    • I hope these photos can help for people who just started baking bread! Baking time is always fun!! hahaha that sandwich was soo great for lunch the other day.. You can come over anytime. My kitchen is always open to friends! Thank you for nice comment!

  8. Your photos are simply beautiful! I’ve never baked with fresh yeast before…very interesting. Thank you for the web site recommendation too. I’ll be taking a look over there today. Wonderful post!

Please cheer me up! Thank you!

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