Hear the words Italian food and your mind probably goes straight to pasta, but I think it’s really all about these Italian breads.
Italian bread will revolutionize how you think of Italian food. From buttery focaccia to crusty pane Toscana, Italians are masters of bread making.
They have sweet breads perfect for holidays and crusty breads ideal for serving bruschetta.
There are so many good Italian bread recipes, it’s hard to pick a favorite!
That’s why I chose to share my top 20 recipes instead. From panettone to ciabatta, these Italian breads will have everyone saying mangia, eat up!
20 Different Types of Italian Bread You Need To Try
Kicking off the tour of Italian bread is panettone. This fruity sweet bread is a classic that’s most often served at Christmas time.
It has a buttery cake-like texture with a hint of citrus from the orange and lemon zest.
What makes it extra special is the candied lemon peel, candied orange peel, and a handful of raisins.
This towering bread makes quite the presentation with all the flavors to match.
Serve this up during the holiday season and your entire family will ask for your recipe.
2. Focaccia Bread
There is a special place in my heart that’s reserved for this focaccia bread. It’s so buttery that I have to hold back from eating the whole thing.
If you’ve never tried your hand at baking focaccia, don’t be alarmed. This recipe is complete beginner status.
It uses active yeast so you don’t need to worry about working with a fickle sourdough starter.
However, the dough will need to rise, which can take up to a day.
Once you get the hang of it you can start experimenting with different focaccia flavors like cheese or rosemary.
3. Ciabatta Bread
Ciabatta is a very popular Italian bread you can easily find in the states. It has a gorgeous crumb, which is the pattern of the holes inside.
You know you’ve made this recipe right when the crumb is more open and less dense.
This is because ciabatta is a high hydration bread, which means there’s a higher ratio of flour to water.
All this may sound intimidating, but it’s not as hard to achieve as you may think.
Stick with this recipe and you’ll have a marvelous ciabatta loaf that’s great for sandwiches, crostinis, and more.
4. Pane di Pasqua (Italian Easter Bread)
I look forward to this bread every spring. Pane di Pasqua is a braided Italian Easter bread that gets a gorgeous sheen from the egg wash.
It falls under the sweet bread category and has a subtle hint of orange. You can braid yours like tradition or turn it into rolls.
The dough is pretty easy to work with, which is a dream for baking. However, the big hidden secret is that this recipe calls for mashed potatoes!
5. Grissini (Crispy Italian Breadsticks)
Grissini is Italian breadsticks that are thin and crispy.
Snacks, lunches, or dinners, these breadsticks are a wonderful accompaniment to all sorts of meals.
My favorite way of serving them is with a charcuterie board filled with high-quality Italian cheese and meats like mozzarella di bufala and soppressata.
Unlike other bread, grissini is simple to whip up.
And you won’t have to worry about getting the perfect shape because these are better when they have a bit of character.
Buccellato is a sweet bread that has variations from both Tuscany and Sicily.
While both are exquisite, this recipe comes from Lucca, located in Tuscany.
A daily staple in Italy, you don’t need the excuse of a holiday to bake this bread.
What makes this bread different is it uses raisins and aniseed for a hint of sweetness and spice.
It goes excellent with morning coffee and makes for a great snack.
7. Sicilian Brioche (Brioche col Tuppo)
Sicilians certainly know how to bake a scrumptious brioche. Airy and buttery, this bread is very hard to resist.
Use full cream milk if you want to make it super-rich. You’ll also want to opt for unsalted butter and bread flour to make it more fluffy.
I highly recommend a stand mixer if you have one. You can knead the dough by hand, but it will take more time.
8. La Piadina
While I love a good crumb, I also have a soft spot for la piadina. This is an Italian flatbread that’s perfect for sandwiches and even great on its own.
This five-ingredient recipe uses baking powder instead of yeast. This will give it a little bit of a rise, but not much.
If you’ve ever made tortillas, the cooking process is similar. You’ll preheat a skillet and cook the dough until it starts to puff, then flip.
It requires a bit more work than letting the oven do the baking for you, but these flatbreads are a true treat.
I like to eat mine Caprese style with some fresh basil, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and balsamic vinegar.
Take a trip to central Italy ,and you’ll be in pagnotta country.
This country-style bread has a crunchy crust and chewy center reminiscent of the best artisan bread.
Resting time is key for this bread as it gives the dough time to rise. When it’s ready for baking, it will take about an hour for it to turn golden brown.
This is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an easy bread recipe for your favorite spreads, sandwiches, or to dip in pasta sauce.
10. Pane Casserecio
Tasty Italian bread takes time and patience. If you have a little bit of both to spare, try this recipe.
Pane casserecio is a crusty country bread that uses biga for baking.
This may sound like a fancy term, but it’s nothing more than bread flour, water, and active yeast. Its purpose is to add more texture and flavor.
Try it in this bread and you’ll quickly discover how amazing homemade Italian bread can be.
11. Cornetto (Italian Croissants)
One of the best pastries you can get at an Italian cafe is cornetto. Italian for “little horn”, this is their version of a croissant.
However, there is a difference between the two. Cornetto has a softer texture than croissants, while this one also has a lovely hint of vanilla and orange.
I think this is best served with a warm cappuccino or a shot of espresso.
This is another divine Italian bread that is commonly served at Easter. While you may expect it to be sweet, this one is more savory.
It calls for three types of cheese which are Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, and Gruyere.
These cheeses are a marvelous combination of sharp, earthy, and nutty.
You’ll add the cheese in with the flour before kneading, then bake it as a loaf.
13. Sourdough Schiacciata
On your quest to find the best Italian recipes, I highly suggest adding this one to the list.
This is another bread from central Tuscany and is similar to focaccia.
Schiacciata translates to “squished” in Italian, which is very fitting because this is about an inch thick.
Despite the squished appearance, the dough will need some time to rise.
But when it’s all said and done, you’ll have a soft, sea salt and olive oil bread that tastes spectacular on its own.
14. Sfincione Siciliano
My family has a tradition of serving this bread as a Thanksgiving appetizer. It might not be your standard Thanksgiving fare, but it’s incredible, nonetheless.
It’s a Sicilian-style pizza with soft, thick bread as the crust and a delightful tomato sauce topping.
You can also add in other toppings like breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and anchovies.
Keep in mind, it does take a few hours to make. So if you plan on serving it for the holidays, you’ll want to plan in advance.
15. Italian Breadcrumbs
These homemade Italian breadcrumbs are far superior to anything you’ll get at the store.
They’re super fresh and lack preservatives, making them even more delicious.
This recipe is also a great use of stale bread so you’ll be reducing food waste too!
To make, you’ll want to bust out the food processor and pulse stale bread with a heaping of Italian herbs and garlic.
You can then store them in the freezer or refrigerator.
16. Italian Chickpea Flatbread
While I’m all for Italian bread, they aren’t the most diet-friendly. That’s where this recipe comes in handy.
It consists of chickpea flour, olive oil, and salt. That’s it!
Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free, chickpea flatbread adheres to a range of diets. It’s also crispy, creamy, and richer in protein than other bread.
17. Italian Dove Bread
By now, you probably know Italians love bread for Easter, but I’ve got just one more.
This is a popular Easter bread and it’s not hard to see why. It’s absolutely delicious!
Dove bread is similar to panettone in that it uses lemon and orange peel. However, this bread gets a topping of almonds and Belgian pearl sugar.
It’s also shaped like a dove, hence the name. You can skip the shaping part if you find it to be too difficult.
18. Fugassa Bread
Fun to say and even better to eat, fugassa is a savory treat. This one gets a filling of bell pepper and shredded cheddar cheese.
Can you imagine how good this will be in a grilled cheese sandwich? Just thinking about it is making my stomach growl.
19. Piadina Romagnola
I find it very hard to resist piadina romagnola. A favorite in Italy, this flatbread features pork lard and wheat flour.
It’s commonly served as street food with yummy fixings on the inside. However, I have no problem eating them sans fixings.
Even though this recipe doesn’t require yeast, you’ll still need to let the dough rest.
20. Pane Toscana
On my trip to Florence, I can’t tell you how many loaves of pane Toscana I devoured.
This rustic Italian loaf is unique in that it lacks salt. This makes it the perfect vessel for serving bruschetta or melted garlic butter.
Similar to pane casereccio, you’ll use biga in this recipe to give it more flavor.
There are many ways to serve this bread, but I like it with marinara smothered pasta so I can use it to soak up the leftover sauce.
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