Italian Herbs and Cheese Bread (Better Than Subway)
If you love the Italian herbs and cheese bread from Subway, I have a good news for you. What if I tell you that you can make the same bread at home with clean ingredients? My recipe replicates the exact taste and texture of the bread. Some people (from my family) said that it even tastes better than Subway.
To make this bread you need to prepare a simple herb and cheese mixture and add some of it in the dough. Once you proof the dough you shape two loafs and top them with the rest of the herbs and cheese. Baking takes about twenty minutes, but while you wait get ready to drool. Your home is going to fill with the most amazing mouthwatering aroma. Waiting for the bread to cool off was the hardest part of the recipe for me. Once it is cool enough to hold in hands you can eat it as it is or make a sub, similar to Subway.
Why should you make the Italian herbs and cheese bread
- You know what you put in your bread and in your body. Unlike the original Subway bread, my recipe doesn’t contain hard to pronounce or find ingredients. You can find them in any grocery store.
- It is much cheaper to bake a bread than buy one from Subway. I bake bread almost daily, and it is always cheaper than any store-bought version.
- Freshness of the bread. Sometimes store-bought bread contains preservatives and other agents that improve its shelf life. When you bake at home you eat freshly baked bread every time.
- The taste, texture and the quality of the bread is better. For me this is one of the main reasons why I bake bread. I just haven’t found a better tasing bread than a homemade one.
Measuring spoons and cups are essential for any baking recipe.
You are going to need a bowl to mix the ingredients for the herbs and Parmesan mixture.
You can use a stand mixer like this one, or knead by hand.
I used this 16”x 8”French loaf pan to bake the bread. If you don’t have one you can bake the loafs on a regular baking sheet. You can create nests for the loafs with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
I use a silicon brush to add some milk on top of the dough.
You also need oven mitts to protect your hands from the high temperatures and the hot oven.
Finally, you are going to need some cooling racks to prevent the bread from soggy bottom after baking.
Please note: these links are not affiliated with anyone. These are just products that I have, use and love. Using the links will not benefit me in any way.
Helpful Tips About Making The Dough
How to measure flour? Always scoop more flour than you need in your cup and use a knife to level it off. If you have a scale, use it, because measuring ingredients by weigh is always more accurate. One cup of flour contains exactly 4 oz or 120 grams of all-purpose flour.
Use slightly warm milk for the dough. I warm mine in the microwave for a minute before I add it to the rest of the ingredients. This will help with yeast activation and proofing.
It is very important to add the flour gradually until you have soft and stretchy dough. If it is sticking to your hands and you cannot form it to a ball, then you need more flour.
When you make the dough, you might need more or less flour. It depends on the type and the brand of flour that you use. I used all purpose flour for this recipe, but you can also use bread flour.
Keep the salt away from the yeast! I always add the salt after I added at least one cup of flour. I never sprinkle salt directly over the yeast. This is very important because salt kills yeast, which can stop the fermentation process and the dough won’t rise.
Helpful tips about making the Italian herbs and cheese bread
Use real, freshly grated Parmesan and Cheddar cheese. You can find it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store with the rest of the cheese. I never use pre-grated cheese in any of my recipes. I don’t like how many extra additives and anti-caking agents it has.
Proof the shaped dough in the oven at 110F. This will keep it away from drafts and keep the temperature constant. Keep the pan with the dough inside the oven while preheating it. This method works and I use it every single time I make a bread. It prevents the dough from rapid change in temperature.
Use a sharp knife to score the dough before baking. This will help with proper shape and form of the loaf.
Baking time might be different depending on the oven. I usually check my bread after 20 minutes of baking.
Store leftover in a bread box or in a paper bag for 2-3 days. To extend its life you can also store in the refrigerator and preheat before serving.
Italian Herbs and Cheese Bread
For the herb and cheese mixture
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
For the dough
- ½ cup whole milk lukewarm
- ½ cup water lukewarm
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups flour or as much as you need to make dough
- 1 tsp salt
- olive oil for greasing the bowl
- 2 Tbsp milk for glazing
- ½ cup grated Cheddar cheese
To prepare the herb and Parmesan mixture
- In a bowl add the grated Parmesan cheese, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, thyme and basil. Stir well and set aside.
To prepare the dough
- In a large mixing bowl add the lukewarm milk and water. Then add the sugar, the yeast and one cup of flour. Finally add the salt and half of the herb and Parmesan mixture. Start mixing and gradually add the rest of the flour. If you don’t have a stand mixer transfer the dough on a flat surface (dusted with flour) and knead until you have a soft dough. Once the dough is ready, add a little bit of olive oil on the bottom of a large bowl. Transfer the dough and cover it with a clean towel.
- Place the bowl with the dough in a warm place. Keep it away from drafts and proof for an hour.
To form the loafs
- Once the dough is double in size, transfer it on a floured surface. Cut the dough in two equal parts. Roll the two pieces of dough to long thick ropes (about an inch and a half). Use the palms of your hands to stretch the ropes as you roll. Place the shaped loafs in an oiled French loaf pans. If you don’t have pans like that you can use a regular sheet pans. Use parchment paper or aluminum foil to form the nests for the bread.
- Once you shape the loafs, score them with a sharp knife. Make 4-5 vertical cuts on each loaf. Brush each peace of dough with some milk. Divide the herb and Parmesan mixture between the two loafs and sprinkle it on top. Divide the grated Cheddar in half and also add it on top of the bread.
- Place the baking pans with the loafs in the oven and preheat it for a minute (or until the temperature reaches 110F). Proof the dough for 30 minutes.
- Once the dough is double in size set a timer for twenty minutes and start preheating the oven to 400F. Keep the loafs in the oven while preheating. Once the time is up check your loafs. They should be ready to take out. If not, bake until golden brown.
- Use oven mitts to transfer the breads to a cooling rack.
- Serve as it is or make a sub out of it.