Back to Italian Bread

Print Options


Card Sizes

Italian Bread Recipe

Italian Bread Recipe

My family laughs at me when I tell them that this poor dough never has a change for an hour, but it makes up for all that punching down with its texture and good taste. My mother-in-law taught me how to make this the recipe's been passed down to my daughter and two granddaughters.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 40 min. YIELD:32 servings


  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 3 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 to 10 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted


  • 1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add the sugar, shortening, salt, egg, remaining water and 4 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  • 2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • 3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each portion into a loaf. Place seam side down on greased baking sheets.
  • 4. With a sharp knife, make four shallow diagonal slashes across the top of each loaf. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • 5. Bake at 350° for 37-42 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Brush with butter. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 135 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 8mg cholesterol, 227mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch.

Reviews for Italian Bread

Sort By :

Average Rating
Reviewed Aug. 21, 2016

"Fabulous recipe! Try this, you will love the results. Can also be divided into smaller portions for sub buns/rolls. Suggested deviations from the recipe as written: bloom the yeast by combining the yeast, sugar and one cup water in a separate container. Stir this vigorously and allow to rest for 5 - 10 minutes while you combine other ingredients. Perfectly fine to sub olive, veggie or another oil for the shortening listed. Do not let the loosely-goosey flour amount throw you. If you have been baking bread for a while you will know how much flour is enough as the dough comes together during kneading. If not, that's okay, I can describe your desired results. Start with five cups flour and add the water, egg, etc and stir well in a bowl. Toss in the bloomed yeast when foamy and ready and combine well, adding perhaps a half to a whole cup more of flour as you do so. You should end up with a very messy looking, shaggy and fairly sticky glop. Turn this out onto a floured surface, flour your hands, and begin to knead. Add flour as you go but be conservative! You're looking to get JUST past the point of stickiness but NO further! I ended up using maybe 7ish cups of flour, but your experience may differ from this. I would expect ten minutes of kneading, and once the dough is barely sticking to your hands, you're done! This dough rises vigorously, unless the kitchen is very cold, it will have more than doubled in an hour. Covered in an oiled bowl, placed in the unlit oven is best. Punch down, divide,knead a tiny bit more and shape your loaves. These will get big FAST in a warm environment! Start peeking after 30 minutes of baking, all ovens are different. Your kitchen will smell fantastic as these bake and you will be amazed at the result. Truly a winner!"

Reviewed Feb. 15, 2016

"I used extra virgin olive oil instead of shortening and add 3 tbsp of flaxseed meal to the mix."

Reviewed Jan. 24, 2016

"Awesome bread! Light and very tasty. Personally, I found no problem with the recipe as written. It turned out great! Guess you just need to know what "stiff dough" is. LOL"

Reviewed Jan. 8, 2016

"Very good recipe. Light soft bread. We added Italian herbs to the butter after baking. This is a keeper!"

Reviewed Jan. 2, 2016

"I hate it when people write recipes incorrectly. i.e. your step 1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add the sugar, shortening, salt, egg, remaining water and 4 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.


Reviewed Dec. 23, 2015

"I love making bread. I made half the recipe with four cups of flour and made two absolutely beautifully light and large loaves for an Italian cuisine dinner party. The guests enjoyed it so much that they insisted on taking home the second loaf."

Spunky bake
Reviewed May. 9, 2015

"Just pulled this out of the oven. My husband likes a softer crust than I do, so I searched, and found this recipe. He was very happy with the final product! Even I (who gadges a good bread by the crunch, and chew) found it a most enjoyable bread. Would and will make again . This time though I feel less rising time. It's rise was fast , and caused bread to burst some. Thank you for a very good recipe."

Reviewed Sep. 14, 2014

"This recipe turned out just fabulous for me. Excellent!!!"

Reviewed Feb. 17, 2011

"I made this with the olive oil dipping sauce with balsamic vinegar and my kids loved it. Will definitely make it again"

Reviewed Jul. 16, 2010

"I really enjoyed this recipe. My only wish is that it would have been specific when mentioning the amount of flour instead of stating 8 to 10 cups. I felt like I was guessing."

Loading Image