Homemade Italian Bread & Garlic Bread

Did anyone happen to watch the OSU-Michigan and Alabama-Auburn games this weekend? Talk about intense! Rivalry games are always exciting but those two games kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Not only did we just barely hold off Michigan to win in the last minute, but Auburn took over Alabama with only 1 second! Guess who’s ranked #2 in the country now!? I’ll give you a hint – I am currently investigating tickets for the National Championship Game. Eeee!!! I am trying not to get ahead of myself as we still have to tackle Michigan State for the Conference Championship this weekend. Excited!! But I digress…

I rarely whip up homemade bread products but lately I’m a human bread machine. Outside of the normal occurrence of pizza dough, in the past few weeks I’ve made gluten-free corn bread muffins, peanut butter cinnamon rolls, Greek yogurt-rosemary rolls, and cranberry-walnut oat bread. Continuing this trend I made a loaf of Italian bread and even braided it so it looked fancy, then took it a step further and made garlic bread out of it. With a little bit of pesto mixed into the garlic mixture, it was as good as it gets. I failed to take a picture of the finished masterpiece, but trust you know what garlic bread looks like!

Homemade Italian Bread

One year ago: White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Two years ago: Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Three years ago: Homemade Applesauce


Makes 1 loaf



3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1/8 tsp active dry yeast


2 tsp active dry yeast

2/3 cup water

2-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1-1/4 tsp salt


1 egg white beaten with 1 Tbsp water

Sesame seeds


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tsp pesto

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

1 loaf Italian bread, cut in half horizontally


  1. For the Italian bread: Mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the starter and the remainder of the dough ingredients, stirring with the blade until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes, turning it over and gently deflating it after 45 minutes.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface. Roll into a thick 18-inch long rope, flatten slightly and cut lengthwise into three pieces, leaving the last inch at the top uncut. Braid the ropes, tuck the ends under, set the braid on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise it rise for about 60 to 90 minutes, or till it’s very puffy.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  5. Brush the braid with the egg white mixture, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool it on a wire rack.
  6. To make the garlic bread: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the olive oil, garlic and pesto. Microwave for 15-30 seconds. Spread olive oil mixture on the cut side of the top layer of bread and the butter on the bottom layer of bread. Sandwich the two pieces back together.
  8. Wrap loaf in foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil, slice and serve.

Source: Italian Bread adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour. Garlic bread The Spiffy Cookie original.


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11 Responses to “Homemade Italian Bread & Garlic Bread”

  • You are my hero!!! Homemade bread is something I love, but am always too afraid to make. This needs to be mine!

  • I’m so happy it’s homemade bread season!!

    I’m sad you brought up the Alabama game..I’m not over it yet. So sad.

    • spiffycookie:

      Sorry, but I was rooting for Auburn! I actually have an Alabama fan friend who said she was ready for them to not win anymore.

  • I love the braided look, it’s such a gorgeous loaf of bread! I have no stake in any of the teams but the games were really fun this weekend 🙂

    • spiffycookie:

      Thanks! I had fun braiding it, like a little girl in elementary school braiding her friends hair… except this one you can eat!

  • All my Ohio peeps are very excited lol

    I’M excited about this bread!!! Italian bread-garlic bread? you are speaking my languaaaage!

  • You did such an awesome job on this bread, and Italian garlic? Yes, please!

  • Carol:

    Unfortunately I did’t have good luck with this recipe. I make bread all the time and this looked so good. I thought the dough was too dry and wanted to make sure that the recipe was right.

    • spiffycookie:

      The tricky thing with making bread is adjusting the flour and water. The temperature and humidity in your kitchen or outside from day to day can affect how much of either ingredient in needed. If your dough was too dry, you may have needed to use a little less four or slightly more water. Sorry it did not turn out for you!

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