Soft & Chewy Italian Bread #SecretRecipeClub

In SRC, members are secretly assigned another blog, search through the recipes, make something, and then reveal!  Interested in joining?  Click that link for all the details!

This month, I was assigned Micha’s blog, Cookin’ Mimi and I was so excited!  I absolutely drool over Micha’s recipes every reveal day!  Micha grew up cooking with her granddaddy and mother and it turned into her own love of cooking.  She focuses on traditional southern cooking, American comfort foods, and a mix of ethnic recipes – it’s my kind of cooking!

I had such fun delving into Micha’s recipes.  Should I make Peanut Butter Brownie Muddy Muddies or Cloverleaf Rolls?  Or how about Mint Chocolate Pudding Brownie Parfaits or Sausage and Potato Breakfast Casserole?

All were very tempting, but what ultimately drew my eye was Chewy Italian Bread.  My whole family LOVES bread.  I’ve made lots of different sorts of breads, but this one especially drew my eye because the method was different.  Usually, breads are kneaded, punched own, shaped and baked. 

In this recipe, the bread was briefly kneaded every 10 minutes during the first raise (which have the bread its chewiness).  I had to try it!

The entire family went nuts over this bread!  It was incredibly soft and chewy (just like the loaves you can get at the grocery store – only homemade, so you know exactly what’s in it!)

I will definitely be making this bread again!  I can hardly wait to toast it and make some killer garlic toast!

Thanks for an amazing recipe, Micha!

Soft & Chewy Italian Bread
Adapted slightly from Cookin' Mimi

½ cup very warm water (115-120 degrees F)
4 ½ tsp instant yeast
4 ½ tsp sugar
2 cups lukewarm water
4 ½ tsp olive oil
2 ¼ tsp salt
6 cups all purpose or bread flour
1 egg + 1 tbsp water, whisked together

Place the very warm water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.  Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes or until foamy.

Add in the lukewarm water, olive oil, salt, and 3 cups of flour.  Mix with the paddle until combined.

Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 3 cups of flour.  Knead for 5 minutes.  The dough will still be quite wet and sticky, but if you pinch off a piece of dough, you should be able to roll it into a loose ball in your hands.

Dust a work surface liberally with flour.  Place the dough onto the surface and knead 3-4 times.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead 3-4 times again.  Repeat, kneading a few times every 10 minutes for one hour.

Divide the dough in two.  Roll into a large rectangular shape (around ½-inch thick).  Then, starting from a long side, roll into a tight cylinder.  Pinch the ends and tuck under.  Repeat with the second loaf.

Place the loaves on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal or lined with parchment or lined with a silicone bread baking mat.  Use a sharp knife to cut 4-5 diagonal slits through the loaves.

Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water.  Brush the egg wash all over the loaves.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to raise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 375.  Rotate the pans and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the bread is browned.  If desired, check for an internal temperature of 190-200 degrees to ensure that it is cooked through.

Move loaves to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

Makes 2 large loaves


  1. soft and chewy... YUMMY!!
    Great SRC choice!

  2. Very interesting. As soon as I can eat bread again, this is being made.

  3. I've been itching to make a good yeast bread lately. This recipe looks like it produces some incredible bread. Great SRC choice and I'm putting it on my list to make this week!

  4. That has to be the prettiest bread on the internet. Yum. Happy Reveal Day!

  5. mmm this is the best sort of bread!!! and I bet it makes amazing garlic bread!

  6. Looks delicious. Nothing better than homemade bread.

  7. What beautiful loaves of bread! After reading the description...well, needless to say, I must try!!

  8. I've never read this method of kneading every 10 minutes before but it sounds like it works really well - I'll have to give it a go!

  9. This bread sure looks delicious! I haven't seen this method of kneading, but I can see how it would make for a chewy bread. :)

  10. I love a good homemade bread and this one sounds delicious. And when you said soft & chewy I just knew I had to try it.

  11. Cut the recipe in half to only make 1 loaf, since there is only 3 of us. The results were absolutely amazing!! This was exactly the recipe I was looking for. Absolutely deliciously, soft and chewy bread like our favorite local Italian restaurant.

    1. This is exactly the feedback I was looking for! We too are only a family of 3. Having pasta tonight and given the current COVID-19 issues...want yummy bread, but have everything else for pasta night!

  12. I was in a panic. I lost my printed copy of Michas Chewy French or Italian Bread recipe and when I went back to get it on Pinterest, th blog is gone! I have been searching for an hour and found the recipe here on your page! Thank goodness for you and your SRC. I don't remember the kneading being for an hour, but rather 4 times. I live alone so only half the recipe and make two small loaves. Eat one, freeze one. It is my go to. Thanks again!

  13. My Go To. I live alone so I cut the recipe in half. It is great every time.

  14. I'm wondering when you say Instant yeast are you meaning the package of yeast and not yeast cake?

    1. Yes. I always give the measurement in teaspoons, however, since I buy instant dry yeast by the pound, no the packets.