Among the homemade yeasted breads I’ve made thus far, I think the pull-apart bread is quickly making its way to the top of my heart. Fortunately, all the recipes I have tried for this particular type of bread have been nothing short of stellar. While my favourite remains to be Flo Braker’s heavenly Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake, this version is no less scrumptious.
This is basically the same bread recipe as Flo Braker’s, but instead of the sweet and tangy lemon filling, we switch it up in favour of the savory. Each bite is a warm explosion of garlic and herbs, intensified by the slight salty punch from the cheese. A little bit of salt and pepper rounds up this wonderful play of flavours. The herb I used was purely basil, but I sprinkled the bread with some Italian seasoning for good measure. The mouth-watering smell that emanated from the oven because of this combination of herbs is enough to drive a hungry man mad. I’m not even kidding.
Pull-apart breads are a genius invention. It’s constructed in such a way that facilitates gorging yourself with slices upon slices of bread. I guess with the thinness of the slices one may consider it daintier than, say, a slice of sandwich bread, but I do believe that the texture and crumb of the bread can only be attained by slicing and stacking the dough in this manner. The thin layers of bread are a marvel when pulled apart.
I absolutely love seeing the cotton-like sinews of the bread whenever I tear a square off the whole loaf. When the most food-critical of my younger brothers had a bite of this bread, he immediately talked about how perfect this would be as a side for pasta, especially pesto!
My favourite part was how super soft the bread actually was within, camouflaged by a crunchy golden crust. Absolutely gorgeous to look at, absolutely delightful in taste, and absolutely easy to devour. The only hard part here is practising restraint!
Herb & Cheese Pull-Apart Bread
Makes one 9x5-inch loaf
For the bread
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 cups bread flour
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
For the filling
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup fresh herbs, any combination that suits you
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the water, sugar, and yeast. Add the 2 cups of flour, salt, and the butter then mix until a shaggy dough is formed.
- 2. Switch to the dough hook, and with the mixer on low speed, add the all-purpose flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough forms. Knead 6 to 9 minutes until soft and pliable, and dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
- 3. 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 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- 4. 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.
- 5. Roll the dough out into a 12 x 20-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.
- 6. 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.
- 7. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, and stack the squares on top of each other in the pan. An easy way to do this is to hold the pan on its side.* 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.
- 8. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for about 40 minutes.
- 9. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Bake the bread 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown and the inside is cooked through. If the top browns too quickly, tent the bread with foil.
- 10. 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.**
** You can either pull the bread layers apart to serve; or cut the bread into 1-inch thick slightly diagonal slices using a serrated knife. If planning to cut the bread, wait until almost completely cool before doing so. In short, just use your fingers and pull! Best served hot and toasty. Adapted from Pink Parsley blog
Pull-apart breads are awesome. The end.
This looks really, really good!!
Thank you, it is! Do give it a try. 🙂
That looks totally amazing 😀
Thank you! I hope you try it some time. 🙂
That looks just marvellous! Another dish I’ve wanted to try but haven’t gotten around to. Your step by step photos are so helpful.
Yay! I love making those step-by-step photos so thank you so much for liking them. 🙂
If you’re pressed for time and really must choose just one, I would recommend the Lemon-Scented version. That one is just heavenly!
Thank you for all the photos so that I know exactly what to do!!
Glad to be of help! 🙂
This looks amaaazing! 🙂
It is. 😉
Tried this bread out today and it worked so well! I would only suggest using a strong flavoured cheese like a mature cheddar so the taste comes through. Such a great recipe – thanks!
Thanks for the tip! 🙂
I just made this using habanero cheese and sharp cheddar. It’s in the 40-minute-proofing-before-baking phase now…and by the time I make it it’ll be midnight. So much for planning around meals, but looking forward to a tasty midnight snack!
Awesome! Habanero cheese sounds seriously good!
Hi Can you please let me know when to add the 2 tablespoons of butter in the Bread section of the recipe and in the filling section you mention 1/2 stick of butter, how much is this in grams etc?
Thank you, looking forward to making this!
Hi Nally! I am so sorry about forgetting this little tidbit in the instructions! I have corrected it. Thanks for pointing it out. 🙂
Well I love cooking and baking but bread has always been a nightmare! Could never get it to rise, and if I did when cooked the bread would come out heavy. Tried this recipe and OMG! It’s a miracle, have tried it three times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke and it’s worked every time. Got to give a sweet version a go as well, absolutely fantastic! Thank you!
So glad to hear that! Congrats! 🙂
This bread really looks tasty I will definitely have to make it. My mouth is already watering!!!
Made it today. It was great! Didn’t have fresh herbs (my basil plant was giving up for the winter). It was still good, though. Thanks for the recipe!
Just finished my first taste of this ridiculously delish bread. I used fresh herbs from my winter garden, Rosemary, sage, flat parsley and basil, and grated extra sharp cheddar and grana Padano that I finely grated, and grass fed butter. Holy moly. This will be in the permanent rotation. Not just bread and much better than garlic bread. Perfect with pasta, roast chicken, steak or pot roast. Just perfect. Thank you for this recipe I can’t wait for the lemon version when I get to the store for the ingredients. I am a lemon fiend!!!
Oh my gosh! The fillings you used sound sublime! I wish I could grow more herbs in our garden but it’s usually too hot here for the herbs to survive for long. 🙁
I am also a lemon fiend and the lemon version of this is just heavenly! The base bread recipe is a keeper for sure.
Make this Bread yesterday , turned out perfectly. Fabulous instructions and photos made it easy to follow , thank you for all the effort you put in.
Thank you for taking the time to comment! 🙂
May I know what’s the weight of the dough?
Hi Nikki, sorry but I was not able to weigh the dough.
Can I ask what combination of herbs you used.
I don’t really remember but I think it was just basil this time. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My family and friends just love it!
I’m so glad to hear that! 🙂
All time favourite in my family!!!!