Bread Machine Italian Bread

This bread machine Italian bread recipe produces a delicious & rustic Italian bread. It uses simple ingredients such as flour, milk and olive oil. Our Italian bread is easy to make because the bread machine does the hard work of mixing & kneading the dough. You just have to shape the bread & put it in the oven. Your family will love your amazing Italian bread. It is perfect with most meals… especially with Italian dishes such as lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmigiana, etc.

Bread Machine Italian Bread (with Coarse Salt Topping)

Bread Machine Italian Bread

In case you didn’t know but Italian bread is not the same as French bread. Classic French bread generally uses only yeast, flour, water and salt. In contrast, Italian breads are a little more complex & flavorful and may use additional ingredients such as milk, olive oil, sugar, herbs, etc. In addition, many Italian breads are more oval in shape whereas classic French bread loaves usually come in a narrow baguette shape.

Please be aware that this Italian bread is not the usual set & forget bread machine recipe. You will have to shape the bread in order to create an oval Italian bread (versus settling for the standard bread machine “block” shaped bread). Moreover, this Italian bread needs to be finished in an oven. Nevertheless, this bread machine recipe is much easier than making Italian bread entirely by hand! Your Italian bread will also look much nicer than a “block” of bread machine bread. For more great recipes, please visit Bread Dad’s main Bread Machine Recipes section.  Bread Dad also has a printable and “pin-able” recipe at the bottom of the page.

Italian Bread Dough from the Bread Machine (with Mixer Paddle “Hole”)

Italian Bread Dough

Ingredients – Bread Machine Italian Bread 

  • 1 1/4 Cups – Milk (lukewarm)
  • 2 Tablespoons – Olive Oil
  • 3 1/2 Cups – Bread Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon – White Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons – Bread Machine Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon – Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon – Dried Rosemary or Italian Seasoning (Optional)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon – Coarse Salt (Optional – sprinkle a pinch of salt on top of the dough “loaf” just before baking)

Servings – Roughly 12 slices per medium-sized loaf and 18-24 slices for large loaves.

  • Equipment required for this recipe –  Measuring cup & spoons, flexible spatula, oven mitts, rolling pin, large cutting board, baking sheet, pastry brush, cooling rack, oven… and of course, a bread machine!

Mold the Dough into a Long Football or Torpedo Shape & Wait to Rise

Italian Bread in Torpedo or Football Shape

Instructions – Bread Machine Italian Bread

  • Unplug the bread machine.
  • Remove the bread pan from the bread machine. Pour the milk into the bread pan and then add the rest of the ingredients (except optional coarse salt). Put the bread pan back into the unplugged bread machine.
  • Plug in the bread machine. Select the “Dough” setting and press the “Start” button on your bread machine.
  • When your bread machine has finished, unplug the machine & pour the dough onto a cutting board. Wear oven mitts (as the bread pan/bread machine may be hot). Sprinkle some flour on the cutting board (before you pour the dough) in order to avoid the dough sticking to the cutting board.
  • Make either 1 large loaf or 2 medium-sized loaves (by cutting the dough in half). Shape the dough so it  looks like a semi-narrow (American) football or fat torpedo. See tips section for more shaping information. FYI – The dough roll(s) should be about 1/2 of the width of your desired finished baked bread width (as the dough will expand before being placed in the oven).
  • Place the shaped dough onto a nonstick baking sheet.
  • Coat the dough with olive oil. Use a small pastry brush.
  • Cover the dough & baking sheet with a light kitchen cloth or plastic wrap in order to protect from dust, insects, etc.
  • Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
  • During this “rising” time, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  • After the hour, remove the covering from the dough and “score” (slice) the top of each dough roll with a sharp knife. Make 3 diagonal slices about 1/4 – 1/2 inch deep and about 3-4 inches apart. This will help prevent the bread from cracking during baking.
  • Optional – Sprinkle a pinch of coarse salt (salt with large crystals) on the top of the oil-covered dough.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven. It should bake at 450 degrees F for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Wear oven mitts.
  • At the 8-10 minute mark, turn the baking sheet around in order to ensure an even “browning” of the bread. Wear oven mitts.
  • Remove the baking sheet when done and place the bread to cool down on a cooling rack. Wear oven mitts.

The Tender Inside of an Italian Bread

Bread Machine Italian Bread

If you liked this recipe, please leave a comment below & give us a 5 star rating. The recipe comment section is located at the bottom of this page. Your comments help us to improve & clarify our recipe instructions. Moreover, it is ALWAYS great to hear from someone who has enjoyed our recipes!

Tips – Bread Machine Italian Bread Recipe

  • The tips below are designed to help bread machine “novices” and/or people with limited baking experience.
  • FYI – In our Sunbeam bread machine, the kneading & rising of the dough setting takes about 1:30 hours before the machine is finished. Read your bread machine manual/instructions in order to determine the exact length of time for the dough setting on your specific bread machine model.
  • Italian breads are delicious because they tend to be a little more flavorful than classic French bread baguettes. Italian bread recipes often use more ingredients and this can result a wider variety of flavors. However, if you are lacking any key ingredients (i.e. milk or olive oil) to make this Italian bread, you should try our Bread Machine French Bread recipe because our French bread (baguette) recipe only uses yeast, flour, water and salt.
  • If you are looking for an Italian bread that is baked in your bread machine (and not in the oven) and where you do not have to shape the loaves by hand, you should try our Bread Machine Italian Herb Bread.
  • Some bakers like to make a little indent on top of the flour (like a crater in the top of a flour volcano) in order to hold the yeast. This will prevent the yeast from falling into the milk & activating prematurely (until the machine starts).
  • Do not place the salt on top of the yeast (as the salt can kill the yeast or limit the yeast’s growth) when adding the dry ingredients into the bread pan. You can use the yeast “indent” method (see bullet point above) to keep the salt & yeast separate until the bread machine starts to mix the ingredients. Place the yeast in the indent and place the salt away from the yeast on one of the sides of the bread pan.
  • You can use any type of milk. However, there will be more flavor if you use whole milk (versus skim milk).
  • If you are out of milk, you can use water but the bread will be a little less flavorful.
  • Don’t use cold milk (or water) because that will inhibit the growth of the yeast. If you use cold milk, your bread may have trouble rising properly. The milk should be lukewarm in temperature. FYI – If I am taking the milk out of my refrigerator, I just put the milk into the microwave for 20 seconds to warm it up. Of course, you should not make the milk too hot as bread yeast can be killed by hot water/milk.
  • If you have run out of bread flour, you can use all-purpose flour to make bread machine Italian bread. An all-purpose flour Italian bread might not be as fluffy/airy (as bread flour-based Italian bread) but it is still pretty good.
  • Optional – Add 1 teaspoon of your favorite Italian-style herb or herbs (i.e. rosemary or Italian seasoning) if you want to add a little more flavor to your Italian bread. Many classic Italian breads (i.e. Focaccia) have rosemary in their recipes.
  • FYI – Italian seasoning is usually a combination of dried herbs such as rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, sage and marjoram.
  • Optional – Sprinkle a pinch of coarse sea salt or kosher salt (salt with large crystals) on top of the oil-covered dough just before you place the baking sheet in the oven.

 

  • Be aware that the dough can double in size during the hour when it is left to rise. Therefore, you need to roll your dough so it is 1/2 the width of your planned final Italian bread width.
  • With this recipe, you can make either 1 large loaf or 2 medium-sized loaves (by cutting the dough in half). Shape the dough so it looks like a semi-narrow (American) football or fat torpedo. Shaping Option 1 – You can mold the dough by hand in order to achieve the desired oval bread shape (just like your old Playdoh days as a child!!). Shaping Option 2 – Or you can use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to about 1 inch high (like a thick flat pizza) and then use your hands to roll up the dough tightly like a jelly roll (start at one side of the dough and roll towards the other side). You will then need to pinch off the ends of the dough & pinch closed the seam of the dough roll. When placing the dough roll on the baking tray, you should hide the seam on the bottom of the dough roll (so the smooth top of the roll is facing up and the seam is touching the baking tray). FYI – The bread pictures above used option2. Shaping Option 3 – Or watch this King Arthur Baking video for another way to shape your loaf (ignore the part at the end of the video about putting into a bread pan).
  • If anything is a little odd after the dough rises (i.e. a bit of the dough is sticking out), you can GENTLY press it back into shape. However, be gentle and don’t lift the dough because you don’t want to crush the airy dough.
  • To score the bread, you will need a sharp knife or a professional scoring tool (bread lame) in order to avoid tugging at the dough while you slice. To learn how to do fancier scoring patterns, you might like to read this King Arthur Baking article. You can also visit our videos section if you want to watch videos that show you how to score bread.
  • Don’t worry if your Italian bread develops some small “cracks” while baking even if you scored the bread. Italian bread is tough to make perfectly when you start out (because cracking can occur if the dough is too dry, too wet, etc.). However, one Italian bread secret is to let the dough fully rise before putting it in the oven so the Italian bread doesn’t expand too much during the baking process. Nevertheless, even with a few small cracks, your Italian bread will look great and taste fantastic!

 

  • Homemade Italian bread is much cheaper than buying bead from some fancy bakery. It is also much more fun to make your own freshly made bread versus driving across town on a snowy/rainy day in order to buy day old Italian bread.
  • Some people like to coat their Italian bread with egg whites (for a shinier “coat”) but I prefer a more rustic look and use olive oil. An egg “wash” also helps to make the exterior dough more adhesive. This allows seeds or dried herbs to better stick to the exterior of the bread (if the baker is trying to add extra flavor or texture to the bread’s crust) and less likely to fall off during the baking or handling of the bread.
  • If you liked this Italian dish, you should also try our bread machine recipes for pizza, calzonesbreadsticks, rolls, garlic bread, etc.
  • If you have a problem with a bread machine recipe, please make sure that you are following the recipe exactly (i.e. using the correct bread machine settings), you are using the correct amount of an ingredient (i.e. don’t eyeball the measurements versus using a measurement cup or accidentally add a teaspoon when a tablespoon is called for), you are using the correct ingredients (i.e. bread machine yeast versus regular yeast or bread flour versus all purpose flour), etc. Please don’t “wing” things with recipes.
  • If you start substituting ingredients (i.e. different types of flour), you are experimenting and should not expect similar results to the recipe shown above. Experimenting can be fun. However, you should expect some successes but more potential disappointments when you start to experiment with recipes. For example, if you substitute whole wheat flour for the bread flour, you will probably experience a problem (as whole wheat flour doesn’t rise nearly as well as bread flour). Moreover, whole wheat flour has a totally different flavor.
  • Be aware that some bread recipes may differ slightly between different types of bread machines. Therefore, please read your bread machine manufacturer’s instructions for basic bread recipes (i.e. white bread or whole wheat bread) as these are more likely to work on your individual bread machine.
  • If you haven’t used your bread machine in a long time, please buy some new bread machine yeast before making your bread. Old yeast can die or lose its potency and this will lead to bread that does not rise properly. Bread machine yeast may not be viable if it has been sitting in your pantry for years.
  • You can visit our instructional videos section if you want to watch videos that provide information on common bread machine and bread making problems & solutions.
  • Always wear oven mitts/gloves when dealing with ovens & bread machines.
  • For more easy bread machine recipes (i.e. white bread, whole wheat bread, banana bread, pizza dough & cornbread), please visit Bread Dad’s section on Bread Machine Recipes. Or if you want even more bread machine recipes, you should visit Bread Dad’s section covering popular Bread Machine Cookbooks.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a comment below & give us a 5 star rating. The recipe comment section is located at the bottom of this page. Your comments help us to improve & clarify our recipe instructions. Moreover, it is ALWAYS great to hear from someone who has enjoyed our recipes!!

Reference Sources

Questions – Bread Machine Italian Bread Recipe

Can I add herbs to Italian bread?

Yes, there are many Italian breads that contain different herbs (i.e. rosemary). Herbs are a great way to add different flavors and improve a “standard” (slightly boring) homemade bread. If you would like to add herbs to this Italian bread recipe, you can add 1 teaspoon of your favorite herb (i.e. rosemary, Italian seasonings, oregano, etc.) into the bread pan before you turn on the bread machine.

Bread Machine Italian Bread
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.94 from 16 votes

Bread Machine Italian Bread

This bread machine Italian bread recipe produces a delicious & rustic Italian bread. It uses simple ingredients such as flour, milk and olive oil. Our Italian bread is easy to make because the bread machine does the hard work of mixing & kneading the dough. Visit Bread Dad.com for more easy bread machine recipes.
Prep Time2 hrs 45 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time3 hrs 5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Sandwich, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: bread machine italian, bread machine italian bread, bread machine italian bread recipe, Italian bread, italian bread recipe
Servings: 24 Slices
Calories: 88kcal
Author: Bread Dad

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 Cups Milk (lukewarm)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon White Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Bread Machine Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary or Italian Seasoning (Optional)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Coarse Salt (Optional - sprinkle a pinch of salt on top of the dough "loaf" just before baking)

Instructions

  • Unplug the bread machine.
  • Remove the bread pan from the bread machine. Pour the milk into the bread pan and then add the rest of the ingredients (except optional coarse salt). Put the bread pan back into the unplugged bread machine.
  • Plug in the bread machine. Select the “Dough” setting and press the "Start" button on your bread machine.
  • When your bread machine has finished, unplug the machine & pour the dough onto a cutting board. Wear oven mitts (as the bread pan/bread machine may be hot). Sprinkle some flour on the cutting board (before you pour the dough) in order to avoid the dough sticking to the cutting board.
  • Make either 1 large loaf or 2 medium-sized loaves (by cutting the dough in half). Shape the dough so it  looks like a semi-narrow (American) football or fat torpedo. See tips section for more shaping information. FYI - The dough roll(s) should be about 1/2 of the width of your desired finished baked bread width (as the dough will expand before being placed in the oven).
  • Place the shaped dough onto a nonstick baking sheet.
  • Coat the dough with olive oil. Use a small pastry brush.
  • Cover the dough & baking sheet with a light kitchen cloth or plastic wrap in order to protect from dust, insects, etc.
  • Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
  • During this “rising” time, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  • After the hour, remove the covering from the dough and “score” (slice) the top of each dough roll with a sharp knife. Make 3 diagonal slices about 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep and about 3-4 inches apart. This will help prevent the bread from cracking during baking.
  • Optional - Sprinkle a pinch of coarse salt (salt with large crystals) on the top of the oil-covered dough.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven. It should bake at 450 degrees F for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Wear oven mitts.
  • At the 8-10 minute mark, turn the baking sheet around in order to ensure an even “browning” of the bread. Wear oven mitts.
  • Remove the baking sheet when done and place the bread to cool down on a cooling rack. Wear oven mitts.

Notes

This is a Bread Dad recipe and may not be copied or reproduced. This recipe is copyright protected under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
 
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The nutritional information is provided using recipe tools such as WP Recipe Maker. These figures should only be considered as an estimate. They should not be construed as a guarantee of accuracy given visitors may use different serving sizes, ingredients, etc. See our legal disclaimer for additional nutrition disclosures.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Slice | Calories: 88kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 115mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 21IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

If you liked this recipe, please leave a comment below & give us a 5 star rating. Your comments really help us to improve & clarify our recipe instructions. Beginning bakers also learn a lot from your baking suggestions, ideas & recipe variations. We also love to hear from people who have enjoyed our recipes!!!

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