Bread to Use When Fixing an Italian Ham and Cheese Sandwich

While touring and traveling through the lovely country of Italy, you may notice the wide variety of Italian sandwich bread available. 

When most folks think of Italian cuisine, they immediately think of various types of pizza and pasta.  However, Italy is also a bread-making country. Bread, like Italian pasta, is made in every region of Italy.

Various Italian bread serves a variety of culinary purposes. In Italian restaurants, they’ll serve you bread as soon as you sit down. The bread is typically served with various Italian meals in restaurants, but it can also be purchased as a treat from a local bakery and various other baked delights.

For the most part, several well-known Italian breads are used to make sandwiches. These can be found in various restaurants and bakeries across the country. Here are the best Italian breads for making a homemade Italian ham and cheese sandwich.

Pane Toscano / Pane Casereccio

four loaves of Pane toscano sitting upright on a counter

Pane casareccio is among the most common breads in Italy. The bread is sold in loaf form and is recognized by different names in different parts of the country. In Rome, it is known as pane casareccio, which translates to “homey bread;” in other areas, it is known as pane Toscano, which translates to “Tuscan bread.”

Bread is commonly purchased in Italy as a half bread loaf or a whole bread loaf from a bakery. You can select from salted, unsalted, cereal bread, whole wheat, durum wheat, and many other options when purchasing. Except for salted Tuscan bread, most Italian breads are unsalted.

The Italian pane casareccio bread is perfect for dipping in various vegetable soups or slicing and topping with meats and cheese. It has a crunchy and hard crust on the outside and a soft and compact interior. As a result, it’s ideal for making Italian bruschetta!

When most Italians think of Italian bread, they think of pane casareccio.


Ciabatta is a bread that is associated with Italian sandwiches. It is well-known in Italy and worldwide, and it is arguably the most popular Italian bread for sandwiches. Wheat flour is used to make this soft, chewy, flat, and long bread. It’s seasoned with salt, olive oil, and yeast, and it’s delicious when topped with cheese or dipped in pasta sauce.

It has been claimed that the conception of the Italian ciabatta bread was primarily motivated by a desire to compete with the popular French baguette. You can also use the bread to make a Panini with Italian meats and cheeses.


This type of bread is also commonly used in making sandwiches. Anyone who has had authentic Italian pizza will recognize focaccia as a pizza base devoid of toppings such as mozzarella cheese and pepperoni and instead topped with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Before baking in an oven, this Italian bread resembles pizza dough. Focaccia dough is made up of water, olive oil, high-gluten flour, and yeast and is typically served alongside meals or used to make paninis.

Pane Di Matera

a fresh loaf of Pane Di Matera

This is well-known throughout the country for its distinct taste and aroma. The loaf is conical and weighs one or two kilograms. Pane Di Matera is a yeast-based bread with a crispy, dark, thick outer crust and a soft, salty interior.

Pane Laterza

This traditional Italian loaf comes from the municipality of Laterza in the south-eastern part of the country. Bread is typically made with salt, sourdough, durum flour, and water. One distinguishing feature of Pane Laterza bread is the brown and crispy outer crust, which contrasts with the soft and white interior.

There are many more, but the ones listed above are the most common. You should do as much research as you can, but you can experiment with the Italian ingredients available to you. Your Italian ham and cheese sandwich will taste authentic, and you will be tempted to make more.

Italian Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich Recipe

The elegant Italian phrase for ham and cheese is coccoli con stracchino e prosciutto. This Italian sandwich was no ordinary ham and cheese. No! Coccoli are these phenomenal little hot, salty, and olive oily bread balls that go well with a giant platter of prosciutto and a bowl of melted stracchino, a fantastic cheese with a great melt quality.

We’ll teach you how to make a grilled Italian ham and cheese sandwich. So gather your ingredients, and let’s get cooking!

What Kinds of Meat and Cheese Can Be Found on an Italian Ham and Cheese Sandwich?

A traditional Italian sandwich contains at least three types of cured meats. You can experiment with salami, pepperoni, and prosciutto, but there are no hard and fast rules. Add some soppressata if you want it spicy, or add a thin slice of mortadella if you want something creamier!

However, when it comes to cheese, we strongly recommend provolone! It has a mild flavor, melts well, and is the ideal cheese to pair with these cured meats.

Bread Varieties

a half loaf and loaf slices of Ciabatta bread

Some argue that you need fancy, crusty loaf to make an excellent grilled cheese sandwich, but you can use any Italian loaf in your pantry or the ones we mentioned above.


  • 8 slices of sandwich bread
  • 4 ounces Genoa salami
  • 2 ounces pepperoni
  • 4 ounces prosciutto
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup of loosely-packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Spread a slice of provolone on a slice of bread. Add a layer of prosciutto, salami, and pepperoni on top. Divide the meat among the sandwiches evenly.
  2. Add a second slice of provolone cheese and a bunch of fresh basil leaves to the top of the meat. Add the second piece of bread and gently press down to keep your sandwich together.
  3. Warm a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add about a half-teaspoon of butter per sandwich when the pan is warm. When the butter melts, place the sandwich and coat your bread, then flip and coat the other side.
  4. Allow sandwiches to cook for three to four minutes per side over medium-low heat, taking care not to brown them too much. The cheese in the sandwich must be well melted and the bread toasted after about six to eight minutes total. Done!
  5. Repeat for the remaining two sandwiches. While you make the last two, keep the first two warm inside a 200°F oven.
  6. Serve sandwiches with chips, steamed veggies, salad, and/or giardiniera.