This homemade Italian bread recipe has a delightfully crusty texture and farm fresh herb seasoning. The easy recipe is so simple that anyone can easily make a crusty herb bread! Artisan breads like this are always the hit of any gathering. The flavor and texture beats store bought bread any day of the week!
Crusty homemade bread is such a hit at our house. It makes the perfect dipping item for any recipe with a rich sauce or gravy, like my one pot chicken barley stew. And what would a big bowl of shrimp chowder be without a chunk of crusty bread?
There is nothing quite like the taste of a homemade bread recipe. The aroma of fresh bread gives your kitchen a wonderful home style feeling, and It tastes just amazing, fresh out of the oven. Homemade bread is also healthier to make than purchasing store bought bread packed with chemicals to keep it fresh.
Making this Homemade Italian Bread
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This recipe for rustic Italian bread has the great taste of zesty herbs and is easy to make. I like to use fresh herbs for cooking when I make homemade bread. If you want to use dried herbs, just cut the amount in the ingredient list to 1/3. Dried herbs are much more concentrated.
One of the beauties of this bread is that it needs just a small amount of kneading and it will still rise and have a great texture. Add some flour to a cutting board so the bread won’t stick.
Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic–just a few minutes. Don’t skip this step. Kneading the bread makes it light and airy. If you don’t knead the dough, the bread will end up flat and touch (and HEAVY.)
Set the bread aside in a warm location. The dough needs to rise until it has doubled in size. This will take about 45 minutes.
I like to make my easy Italian bread recipe into a free form oval shaped loaf. No messing with bread pans and it can be made right on a baking sheet. My silicone mat is great for making bread.
To make a nice looking finished loaf, it also helps to cut some 1/4″ slits in the dough. This helps with cooking and gives the bread a decorative look when it is done.
You can also divide the bread batter and make it into smaller chunky loaves or even bread rolls. The recipe works equally well for any of them.
You do not even need to preheat the oven! The bread will rise a bit more as the oven heats up. You can also try making the bread in a cast iron Dutch oven to make it even more crusty.
The aroma of this authentic Italian bread recipe is so welcoming and warming when you step in the door. Do you know that many real estate agents recommend cooking homemade bread when you have an open house? This is the reason!
When the weather is cooler, I make bread all the time. It is the time of the year when home made soups are on our dinner menu and there is nothing quite like crusty bread to accompany a big bowl of soup. (Try this recipe for chicken pot pie soup. It’s delish and goes so well with a crusty bread recipe!)
Ready to taste this Rustic Italian bread recipe?
The savory herbs in the bread give it a real farm fresh flavor and the crunchy crust makes it perfect for sandwiches, soups or even with a poached egg on top for breakfast. It is one of my favorite bread recipes.
The bread has a soft and tender center with a crust that is one of my husband’s favorite meal time experiences. You just can’t get the texture of a loaf of homemade Italian bread from a packaged store bought loaf of bread.
The bread is great to use at meal time and you can also use my recipe to make some homemade herbed garlic bread.
How many calories in homemade bread?
I cut this load into 10 slices, each with 149.8 calories. This is because I cut it when it is still warm so cutting a thin slice is just about impossible, due to the texture (and the aroma – who cares about thin slices once you smell the bread?) If you let it cool and can cut the loaf into 14 slices, it works out to 107 calories a slice.
Best way to store homemade crusty bread
One of the most common questions I get about bread like this is “how long does homemade bread last? Crusty bread doesn’t have the same preservatives in it that store bought bread does, so it won’t last as long in storage. (But seriously…who has homemade artisan bread last more than a day or so? But it you are one of those with will power and you do, store the bread, unwrapped, at room temperature for 2-3 days. You can also store it on the counter in an airtight container.
Once you have sliced the bread, place it in a brown paper bag and close the bag. Home made bread can also be frozen in zip lock bags for up to three months.
If you love the flavor of home made bread, check out this post for more sweet and savory bread recipes.
Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in April of 2014. The post has been updated with new photos and a step by step tutorial, as well as nutritional information.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 package yeast (rapid-rise recommended)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1¼ cups warm water
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ tsp garlic salt
- 3 tsp fresh oregano, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil with water, yeast and salt. Let it sit for five minutes. Mix the herbs and sugar into the flour.
- Stir in the flour mixture until the dough is stiff enough to knead. Add the flour a little bit at a time. Three cups flour is an approximate amount, your exact amount may vary. slightly
- Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic–just a few minutes.
- Place dough in a greased bowl; cover and let rise until the dough has almost doubled. (about 45 minutes)
- Form the dough into an oval free-form style loaf and place on greased baking sheet. (Dust baking sheet with flour first if desired and make slits in the top of the loaf for a nice finish when done.) Place immediately in a 375º F oven. Do not preheat the oven, the bread will rise some more as your oven heats up. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
- Note: if you use dried herbs, cut the amounts shown in the ingredient list to ⅓
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