Mom's Italian Bread
4 cups warm water
4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup olive oil, plus more to grease bowl
2 tablespoons salt
8 cups all-purpose flour** plus more for surface
**Gluten free All-Purpose 1:1 flour can be used.
Preheat oven to 200º F, then turn off.
In the biggest bowl you own, combine 4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast with 4 cups warm water. Water should be warm to the touch, hot tap water will do. Mix until yeast dissolves. Add ⅓ cup sugar, ⅓ cup olive oil, and 2 tablespoons salt and combine.
Mix in 8 cups all-purpose flour with a wooden spoon until dough forms into a shaggy ball. Flour a clean surface and plop out your dough. Knead for 10 minutes until dough forms a smooth ball. NOTE: Depending on the humidity in your air, this recipe may take a lot more flour than 8 cups. Keep adding until you reach the shaggy texture!
Lightly grease a clean bowl with olive oil or vegetable oil, then place dough in and flip over so the entire ball is covered in oil. Place a damp towel over the bowl and transfer to the preheated oven. Let dough rise 1-2 hours, until doubled in size. (To test the rise, stick a finger in the dough. If the hole stays, my mom says you have done the job right. This is a rule I have used so many times in my life for a number of different endeavors—thanks, mom!)
- Transfer dough to a floured surface and punch it back down to its original size (should take less than a minute). Move the dough back to the greased bowl and let rise 1-2 more hours again on the countertop (no oven required).
- After your second rise is complete, transfer the dough to a floured surface and punch down again, then cut into 4 pieces and place them in 4 oil-greased loaf pans. You can use other shapes of pans, or even bake freestyle on a sheet. See below for pics of what those options look like!
- Cover pans with damp towels and rest for 30 minutes until dough rises and fills out the pans. Bake at 400º for 30-35 minutes, making sure to check on them as they bake.
Serve your bread hot, room temperature, toasted—endless options! Eating it warm out of the oven with a slab of butter really takes me back! Freeze any extra loaves, as they defrost perfectly. To defrost, either leave on the counter overnight or heat at 400º for a few minutes. Loaves of bread make a GREAT gift to friends as well, so be sure to share the love!
- *Do not halve this recipe! Wrap any extra loaves on plastic wrap tightly and freeze.
- Nutrition Serving Size
- per serving
- 61 grams
- 8 grams
- 6 grams
- Saturated Fat
- 1 grams
- 353 milligrams
- 2 grams
- 5 grams