Homemade Italian Bread

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This homemade Italian Bread is a cool rise bread. It can be made in advance and put in the refrigerator for anywhere from 2-24 hours. It’s great to bake just before guests arrive!

A close up of slices of italian bread

Thank you to Red Star Yeast for partnering with us for this recipe. As always, all opinions are our own.

Homemade Italian Bread

There are so many things to love about homemade Italian Bread. Especially this loaf.  This recipe is from an old-fashioned cookbook that my great-grandma gave to me. That’s always a good sign that a recipe is doing to be good. And it didn’t disappoint. If you’re looking for an easy homemade bread with a chewy crust but soft inside, give this recipe a try!

What is Italian bread?

Italian bread is similar to white bread. Italian bread is known for having a moist and absorbent interior that is perfect for soaking up soups and sauces. Italian bread has a little bit of a chewy crust and is often round in shape, although we’ve shaped our Italian bread into loaves.

cool rise Italian bread loaves

Italian Bread Loaf

This recipe is for a classic Italian bread with a simple flavor. It makes two loaves and is perfect to use as a side to your favorite Italian dinners, side salads or with soup. It’s hard to resist fresh from the oven, but it’s chewy exterior makes it perfect any time of the day!

What kind of yeast is used to make bread?

My favorite yeast is Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast. It comes in packets and never fails to produce a great loaf of bread. If you are newer to bread making, I highly recommend this yeast for great results! Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast is an instant yeast which means it does not have to be proofed first. Just add it into the flour and start mixing.

platinum baking yeast packets with bread

What is the best way to mix bread dough?

We use our stand mixer to knead bread dough, but if you don’t have a stand mixer you can knead by hand.  If you happen to have a bread maker, you can use the dough setting and let the bread machine knead for you, which is the easiest method of all!

Cool Rise Bread Recipe

This bread is a “cool rise” bread.  That means you can let the dough rise in the fridge overnight and bake it fresh the next day.  It’s the perfect bread for when you are having company over. The floury mess stays out of the kitchen the day you are having guests.

To allow your dough to rise, simply brush with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Pop the pan into the refrigerator overnight and remove it from the fridge the next day about 10 minutes before you want to bake it.

A close up of a slice of bread

How do you make an egg wash for bread?

What gives this bread it’s shiny exterior? It’s an egg wash. Egg wash is simply 1 large egg white and 1 tablespoon of water. Use a fork to whisk the two together, then brush it overtop the loaves of bread after they’ve baked for 20 minutes. Brush on the egg wash, then bake for an additional 5 minutes. It helps give that delicious crust a beautiful look.


Having trouble? Read through our most frequently asked questions about bread baking.

slices of cool rise italian bread
slices of cool rise italian bread

Homemade Italian Bread

5 from 9 votes
This Italian Bread is a cool rise bread. It can be made in advance and put in the refrigerator for anywhere from 2-24 hours. It's great to bake just before guests arrive!
Servings 20 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

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  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 packages Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (approximate)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water


  • Start this recipe early in the day, or a day in advance of the day you need the bread.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, salt, yeast and two cups of flour.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, heat the butter and water until it is very warm, but not hot (about 120-130 degrees). The butter does not have to be completely melted.
  • With the mixer on low speed with the paddle attachment, gradually beat the liquid into dry ingredients until just blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat for two minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the remaining flour to make a soft dough, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead the bread for 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half; cover and let it rest for 20 minutes. Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray and sprinkle with cornmeal (optional).
  • On a floured surface, roll one dough half into a 15x10" rectangle. Starting with the 15" side, tightly roll the dough jelly-roll style. Pinch the seam to seal. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Place the loaves, seam-side down on a cookie sheet and taper the ends. Brush with vegetable oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
  • To bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the loaves from the refrigerator, uncover and let stand 10 minutes. Cut 3-4 diagonal slashes on top of each loaf. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, beat egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Remove loaves from the oven. Brush with th egg mixture. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Allow the bread to cool completely, then store in an airtight container.



The calories shown are based on each loaf of bread being cut into 10 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of bread. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.


Serving: 59g | Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 39mg | Vitamin A: 15IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Course Bread
Cuisine Italian
Calories 137

A close up of buttered bread

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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2 years ago

5 stars
I never thought it would be so Easy to make Homemade Italian Bread & that it would taste way better than the Fresh Italian bread from the store! This recipe is Amazing! My Family Loves It!

2 years ago

By choice I knead all my bread by hand. (I own a KA stand mixer, but again I like to knead my bread recipes by hand.) Also by choice I only use active dry yeast in my recipes. What changes to the instructions should I make in light of this. Thank you for all your recipes!

3 years ago

hey julie!

would this italian bread make really great sub rolls also if i rolled them out, or would i need to change something? also i don’t know if you’ve ever tried the sourdough / rosmary bread at wegman’s or not but would this sourdough here taste anything like that ? of course if you haven’t tried it you wouldn’t know . it’s great tasting , but expensive.

4 years ago

5 stars
Oh so delicious! Loved your recipe and it’s so easy to make. I’ve never made a cool rise bread but I’m a definite fan.

4 years ago

I made at 2 pm and plan to serve at 6 would you suggest just warning in a 350 oven for 350 degree?

4 years ago

Can you tell after the bread is baked what do you suggest storing it in ?

4 years ago

Can I let rest room temperature ;efor baking? If so Is the full two hours necessary? Or can I cut that time down at all?

4 years ago

I can’t get the suggested yeast packets. I can only buy Fleischmann’s Active Dry or Rapid Rise Yeast packets. Would either of them be okay to use and if so, which one would be better? Thank you for your help.

4 years ago

If you don’t have room in the fridge for formed loaves can you let rise in bag then form?
Started this so I could do it early for guests coming tonight then realized that I didn’t have room for 2 cookie sheets in the fridge.
Also… I used half the salt and it was pretty salty so next time I will cut that down further for my preference.

4 years ago

5 stars
This recipe was awesome! Thank you.