Monday, July 18, 2011

Cheese & Herb Pull-Apart Bread

A pretty standard meal around here is pasta, bread, and salad.  And not that I get bored, but I do like to mix things up a bit - either by trying new pasta dishes, different salads, or variations on bread.  Admittedly, that is probably what I do the least of though - it's just so easy to just grab a baguette from the bakery at the grocery store and heat it up.  I have a few recipes that I make when I want to get fancy - like these herbed dinner rolls or Garlic and Herb Ciabatta Bread, but for the most part I go with the old standby.

This cinnamon-sugar pull-apart bread has been popping up all over the place, and while I can't wait to try that as well, I was extra excited to try this savory variation.  It is layers of soft bread, filled with garlic, herbs, cheese, and then drizzled with melted butter.  The combinations of herbs and cheeses are pretty much infinite, so just use what you have on hand.  I think for the herbs I used basil, chives, parsley, oregano, and thyme.  And for the cheese I used cheddar, gouda, and Parmesan. 

This method seems imrpressive, but it is actually really easy.  It's a pretty standard yeasted dough, but when it comes time to shape it, it is rolled out into a large rectangle, sprinkled with the filling, then cut into squares and stacked into the loaf pan.  You can be as anal or free form as you want, but I preferred measuring my squares to have them be as close in size as possible (I'm a scientist by training - I really can't help the compulsions). 

My favorite part of this bread was the crunchy outer pieces mixed with the soft and doughy inside.  And of course you can't go wrong with gobs of melted cheese.  This was such a fun bread to make, and it would be especially well-suited to serve to company.  Served with pasta, grilled steaks, a roasted chicken - it's so versatile and would be a great addition to pretty much any meal.

Cheese & Herb Pull-Apart Bread

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 packet instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh herbs (any combination that suits you)
  • 1 cup cheese (I used cheddar, gouda, and Parmesan)
  • 4 Tbs butter, melted
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the water, sugar, and yeast.  Add the first 2 cups of flour, and mix until combined.  Switch to the dough hook, and with the mixer on low speed, add the third cup of flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough forms.  Knead 6-9 minutes, until soft and pliable, and it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead to form a smooth ball.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and allow to rise 1-2 hours, until doubled in size. 

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, chop the herbs and garlic, melt the butter, and grate the cheese.

Roll the dough out into a 12x20 inch rectangle.  Brush with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, then sprinkle the dough with the garlic, herbs, and cheese.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the dough into 6 equally sized strips using a pizza cutter or knife.  Stack the strips on top of each other and cut into 6 equally-sized squares. 

Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan, and stack the squares on top of each other in the pan.  I found the best way to do this was to hold the pan on its side and stack them that way.  If you lose some of the filling as you stack, just sprinkle it on top once the dough has been stacked.  Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the top.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise 40 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the bread 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown and the inside is cooked through.  If the top browns too quickly, cover the bread with foil.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges and invert onto a serving platter to serve.

source:  adapted from Petite Kitchenesse and Joy the Baker


Becki's Whole Life said...

I keep seeing recipes for pull-apart bread and it looks so good! I'm not sure if the sweet version or the savory sounds better. They both sound great - yours looks wonderful.

notyet100 said...

I have seen this so mny times :) feel like trying this now ,..

Jessica said...

First, yay! I can get to your blog again! It must have been a server error in the hotel because I crossed my fingers and tried this morning and it worked!

Second, this looks amazing and is yet another recipe going straight to the top of my "make when back in America" list!

Anonymous said...

This looks and sounds so yummy! Awesome recipe.

Krissy said...

This sounds awesome!

Hezzi-D said...

This looks great! I've actually had the same idea since seeing the cinnamon pull apart bread. It looks delicious

elly said...

LOVE this savory version. It looks so good!

Pretty. Good. Food. said...

I've seen the sweet bread, but never in savory form, sounds so good!

Lenore said...

I read this post this morning and frantically started going through my pantry in search of the ingredients. Alas, I am missing bread flour, so it will have to wait until this afternoon. But I will make this!

Sashquatch said...

I think this must be my top favourite adaptation of this recipe that ive seen by farrrrrr! It sounds Insanely wonderful! Although I would be tempted to ramp ramp up the garlic as i just cant resist the stuff, even if it does make me unapproachable for the next couple of days! :)

katie said...

This looks so delectable! Cheesey garlic bread is a favorite in our house.

Heidi (Balance Project) said...

This looks amazing!! :) I also love pasta and this would be great to go with it! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I've been following the pull-apart-bread craze and decided to try it since I'm a sucker for carbs and garlic!! This turned out really good, but I only had to add approximately 1/4 of the last cup of flour to get the right consistency. Really yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious. Could you please clarify something? You listed salt and 2T melted butter under the ingredients for the bread, yet it is not mentioned when/how that is incorporated into the dough mixture.

The 4T melted butter for the filling are accounted for, but not the 2T for the dough itself. Thanks

test it comm said...

I have been wanting to try a pull apart bread and this cheesy, herb filled one looks like a great place to start!

Elena @ said...

We are big time pasta eaters as well since there are many ways to make it and it is easy for me (which is a must!). Bread is always one of those items that seems "boring" so I was trying to find a recipe that was better than the "norm" and found this. I have made it a couple of times and it is such a hit that everyone asks for it every "pasta meal"!

Maria said...

This looks delicious and I plan to make it soon. We do love pasta and also love the pull-apart variety of breads so I know my kids will like, especially with the cheese added!

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