Soft Cheese Bread: Two Ways

Soft Cheese Bread - Two Ways

I love to cook new things. I have a cooking queue of new recipes to try that’s a mile long. So many recipes, so little time! So when something makes a repeat performance in my kitchen (or several, in this case), I figure it’s worth sharing.

That’s definitely the case with this Soft Cheese Bread, first discovered a couple of years ago in Peter Reinhart’s book “Artisan Bread Every Day”. A batch makes two loaves, so I have taken to making two different versions when I make it. Today, it was a Cheddar and Herb and a Parmesan Garlic and Herb.

Soft Cheese Bread - Cheddar and Herb
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Soft Cheese Bread - Parmesan, Garlic and Herb
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Now, you might be thinking. “Jen, that bread there isn’t looking so soft”. But trust me, while this bread has a lovely crust, it is a soft crust, along with a soft interior (owing to the milk in the dough, I believe).

Of course, this is a yeast bread, so it doesn’t really qualify as “quick”, but it is easy and with one baking session, you’ll be rewarded with two great and different loaves. And these loaves freeze beautifully, so slice them up and pop them in the freezer and pull some out whenever a side of bread is in order. Pasta night? Toast up some of the Parmesan Garlic Herb (toasting or popping under the broiler for a bit, really brings the flavours out in this one!). Soup night? Cheddar and Herb will go perfectly with it. And of course, either of these would make a great sandwich bread.

This bread is endlessly customizable. All kinds of cheese, herb and other add-in combinations will work. Want to throw in some sun-dried tomatoes or a bit of pesto? Why not! Olives? Yuck. Sure. Lots of cheese or just a bit? It’s up to you.

Finally, there is an option to overnight-rise this dough in the fridge. I rarely do that, because I’m a) impatient and b) not that organized, but feel free to do so. There’s no doubt that any bread benefits from a longer rise for better flavour.

Soft Cheese Bread - Two Ways
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Soft Cheese Bread - Two Ways
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You might also like … a Jalapeno Popper version of this cheese bread »

Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Every Day

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152 Comments

  • Renee says:

    The photos of this gorgeous bread have me wanting to bust out my yeast, right now! Love the swirls and the crust. You are so lucky to have this in your kitchen right now!

  • Those are really beautiful loaves of bread!
    you’re so right about so many recipes, so little time. I hope I will have time to bake these. :)
    for now, I am pinning them to my board. :)

  • Beautiful breads, they look scrumptious!

  • Katie says:

    This looks SO good! Reminds me of the cheesy bread my roommates’ mom used to bring us in college. Will definitely be the next yeasted bread recipe I try!

  • Deb says:

    Stunning bread! My family would love to share a loaf with hearty soup on a cold winter evening!

    • Jennifer M says:

      Thanks Deb. That is exactly why I started baking this bread. It’s the perfect side for soup dinner.

  • Wow. Just beautiful. And that is one of my all time favorite bread books.

  • Oh wow! This bread looks amazing. Reminds me of my favourite bread that I loved as a kid. Every Sunday, my dad would drive me to the bakery at the cabin and we’d get a freshly baked loaf of cheese bread. Cannot wait to make this!

  • Sunny says:

    Those look absolutely awesome and will add them to my must try recipes! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Ooo yum! Those breads look truly delicious! I’m gonna have to try your shaping method some time, the loaves are beautiful!

    • Jennifer M says:

      Thanks Yvonne. This shaping method is nice with a cinnamon bread as well, as it doesn’t make those large gaps or fall apart, like the traditional roll does.

  • And I love your photos, too!!

  • Sophie says:

    This reminds me of a local bakery that makes a soft, sandwich-able white bread loaf marbled with cheddar and herbs. They are famous for giving free slices away for the asking, so when I worked in an office across the street, I loved to go and get a warm slice with a cup of coffee. Now I could make some at home! Rock on! Your bread, as I’d expect, is much prettier than the bakery’s, though. Beautiful work! Is it difficult to shape the loaves in that manner? What I’m saying, is — will I be able to do it? ;)

    • Jennifer M says:

      Thanks Sophie and you can totally do this. It’s basically roll into rectangle, fill, roll up jelly-roll-like. Slice down the middle lengthwise and twist the two pieces together. There’s some pictures of the idea in this post, if you’d like some visuals (minus the forming into a ring, obviously)

      • Sophie says:

        Finally trying these gorgeous loaves this week, and this may be a silly question but: is the amount of cheddar and then parmesan/herbs called for to make one loaf of each? Or is it enough filling to make two loaves of whichever I choose? Does that makes sense :)

        • Jennifer M says:

          Makes perfect sense! The amounts are written assuming you would be making one loaf of each, so if you were to make 2 loaves of cheddar, you would need 4 cups of shredded cheese. I know that seems like a lot, but when measuring it shredded, it’s not as much as it seems. Also, I found you really need quite a bit to avoid it getting lost in the bread. You could probably get away with a bit less if using a good, aged cheddar. I tend to use the big, supermarket cheddar blocks for this bread though.

          • Sophie says:

            Oh for sure! No, it doesn’t seem like too much at all — I just wanted to make sure! I’m excited — it’s not going to last long in our kitchen :) :)

  • Kathy says:

    Wow! Your bread looks amazing. My husband would love this bread. I seem to have a list of must try recipes that is a mile long, too. I will be adding this recipe to my list!

    • Jennifer M says:

      Thanks Kathy. I love this bread because it’s so versatile. It’s the perfect side for so many dishes and occasions. Hope you get a chance to try it.

  • Romenna says:

    AB5 has changed my baking life, however, I have been on a quest to find the ingredient to make the crust a little softer and the taste a little less bitter. I was happy to see this pin and will be trying it on my next batch. The last flavor that I tried was sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese. Delicious!

    • Jennifer M says:

      I think this bread will be what you’re looking for, and sun dried tomato and feta sounds delicious!

  • Nicole says:

    oh wow this looks delicious, I found it off of the berry, you’re berry famous! I’m going to bake it this weekend, mmmmmzzz

  • chelsey says:

    This bread looks amazing! I work at a small bakery.and we make a cheesey onion bread that I love. I’m sure this will be at the top of my list as well..I’m going to make the parm. Herb version to go with pasta tomorrow night :) great job!

  • Susan Andrews says:

    I LOVE this recipe! The bread is so beautiful! I switched it up and made parmesan, garlic, basil. I cannot wait to try different variations. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jennifer M says:

      You’re welcome, Susan. It’s one of my favourites. I’ve made a ton of variations over the years myself.

  • Heather says:

    Love any bread that includes cheese! Even better when you add garlic and herbs :)

  • belllini says:

    These breads are a thing of beauty Jennifer. I loved the cheese bread I remember as a child with chunks of cheese from the Mennonites at the farmers market.

  • Vanessa says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe! This was fantastic. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, so I did sharp cheddar with roasted garlic. It was amazing, and the shaping technique is so fun. Love it.

  • Stacy says:

    Made the garlic and herb loaf. It was awesome everyone loved it.

  • Ils sont superbes,
    bien dodus.
    Très belle journée

  • Vinni says:

    Beautiful pictures! I posted a version of this on my website. I would love for you to check it out! Keep up the great work.

    Vinni @ masala & missoni

  • Caitlyn says:

    I have these in the oven right now, and I’m SO excited to see how they come out! They already smell delicious!

  • Sherrie Gao says:

    I just made a cheddar version with Italiano herb blend plus a bit of garlic powder. AMAZING!

  • Mothercrone says:

    I was first attracted to your website by this beautiful photo only, that I saw on Pinterest. I did a little searching and I found you and the recipe. This looks absolutely wonderful and I can’t wait to try it. Just pinned you on Pinterest and all your photos and recipes look amazing!

    • Jennifer M says:

      Thanks so much and so glad you found me :) Hope you get a chance to try this bread. I’m sure you will love it.

  • These loaves look absolutely wonderful!

  • Kristen says:

    I was just wondering if you had to let the yeast activate before you add it to the dry ingredients or if you just dump it all in together?

    • Jennifer M says:

      Hi Kristin, This recipe calls for instant yeast, which doesn’t need to be proofed in liquid beforehand. If you used active dry yeast, yes, you should activate it with some of the liquid before adding.

  • Su Ann says:

    I baked this bread, but with some variations: I substituted a third of the flour with wholemeal flour and used cream cheese and cheddar and herbs for the filing – and gosh, it was so good! I love the soft texture of the bread. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

    • Jennifer M says:

      Your version sounds delicious, Su Ann. Thanks for sharing. I love the texture of this bread, as well!

  • Duby says:

    hi – i just wanted to let you know i made this bread and OMG IT WAS FREAKING AMAZING !!!!!!!! i added more filling (cheese and spices) than the recipe says – and i cant begin to tell you how incredible it was.

    For starters – my entire house smelled like pizza…
    secondly – it made my life incredibly easy that i was able to freeze these loaves and then just pop them in the oven to make the outside crusty before serving.

    This recipe is definitely a keeper – and no doubt i’ll be making it again ! (oh i also doubled the recipe so i got 4 nice size loaves. and no, there werent any leftovers :)

    • Jennifer M says:

      So glad to hear and I agree, being able to freeze it and use as needed is one of the great things about this bread. It does make life easier, for sure.

  • Emily says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I made a couple loaves yesterday, and they turned out wonderfully. After I started, I realized I was out of milk and had to mix up some with dry milk powder. I’d never used it in bread before, but it worked! I didn’t have bread flour, either, so I added 1 T vital wheat gluten per cup of flour. We had a couple of slices with chili and froze the rest to eat with soup another time. Definitely a keeper in our home!

  • Sandra says:

    Hi Jennifer, these photos look great! I love making bread and I’m going to make them this weekend. I’m having trouble visualizing how you assemble the dough, in order to get the beautiful swirl effect. Any chance you can elaborate on the process for me? Sorry to be a pain, but I don’t want to mess it up!
    Thanks! Sandra

    • Jennifer M says:

      Hi Sandra and it’s not problem at all. It was only after I made it last that I thought it would have been helpful to photograph the shaping thing. I plan to add it to the post the next time I make it. In the meantime, I’ve attached here a picture of shaping Estonian Kringle bread, which is very similar, except we won’t be able to get as many twists out of ours and we’re not going to form it in to a ring at the end.


      Image © My Recipe Journey

      So basically, we are going to spread the filling over the rolled out dough and then roll up jelly-roll style and pinch together. With a sharp knife, you’ll slice down the centre of the log, lengthwise and then rotate the pieces so the exposed filling is facing upwards. Pinch together the far end, then twist the two pieces together a couple of times, making sure to keep the exposed filling side facing up. Pinch together the other end once you’ve twisted it together (you’ll probably only be able to twist it 2-3 times). Carefully lift twisted loaf into greased loaf pan.

      Does that help?

  • Sandra says:

    That is very helpful! Thanks so much, I can’t wait to try it. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  • Wendy says:

    I make this bread every Sunday, made it today! This is the best bread recipe on the web. I have an entire board of different breads on Pinterest, but this is the one I make weekly. I have given it as a gift, everyone loves it! I’ve taken it for potlucks and I use it to make sandwiches to take to work for lunch. Suffice it to say, my lunch is the envy of all who view it. It taste great and it it gorgeous. I put in veggies (spinach, tomatoes, portabella mushroom, etc.) and grill the sandwich on both sides. It is scrumptious! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!

  • Stefan L says:

    Just eating my first slice… Perfection. Thank you :)

  • michelle says:

    oh gosh, i cannot wait to do this and i have bookmarked it! i tried a cheese bread 2 wks ago and it turned out to be very oily and heavy. Not soft at all and i could not go on after the 2nd slice…

    i will make this definitely!

  • Amber says:

    I made this bread a few months ago and love it so much!! I’ve got my second batch rising now. Have you ever tried it with cinnamon sugar inside? I was thinking of doing a sweet and a savory this time.

    • Jennifer M says:

      Hi Amber, I haven’t tried cinnamon sugar inside this particular bread (I have made it with other recipes, though). I don’t see why it wouldn’t be just as nice. If you try it, let me know how it was.

  • Stephie says:

    I made this bread yesterday and it is absolutely scrumptious. The recipe worked perfectly, I was so pleased. Had it for dinner with homegrown sliced tomatoes and roasted garlic mayo – perfection. I will definitely be making this again, thank you for the excellent recipe!

    • Jennifer M says:

      So glad you enjoyed it Stephie. If you’re like me, you’ll be making it over and over again. It’s a bit addictive :)

  • Katrina V says:

    This is a fantastic recipe!! It was easy to make and turned out beautifully! My husband was a big fan (I made the cheddar version) and we both enjoyed it with some home-made chicken and rice soup! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Mel says:

    If I leave out the cheese/herb filling for half (the second loaf), do you think the basic dough would be okay for a plain bread?

    • Jennifer M says:

      Hi Mel, Sure. It would be fine. It’s a mildly sweet and soft bread, with or without fillings. It was be fine plain for sandwiches or toast.

  • Shane says:

    I tried this bread today. It’s very good! I made two herb and cheese but used oregano instead of chives and parsley, and it turned out great. I found the top crust was very hard while baking, but softened once the loaves were taken out and cooled.

  • Grace says:

    Awesome recipe! Made it a few days ago and will definitely make it again since the other half of the recipe is resting in the fridge. Yum!!
    Quick question … Can you freeze the dough and still yield the same results? If so, at what point should I freeze it? After it rises (doubles in size) or right after it’s mixed?
    Thanks!

    • Jennifer M says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Grace. As for freezing, I have to say, I have no experience freezing the dough. I think if I was going to try it, I would let it go through the first rise, shape it, place it in the pan, wrap well and freeze. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator over night and then allow sufficient time for it to fully rise the way you would normally let a bread rise, before baking off. (If you try, let me know how it works out)

      • Grace says:

        Thanks for your quick response! I will definitely try freezing the dough (prior to rolling with all the goodies) in the future and let you know how that works out. I’m a bit timid about getting it all to the last rise (in the bread pan) and then freezing….but perhaps one day I will experiment with that as well … but that will also mean I will be w/o a bread pan while it’s in the freezer.
        Just trying to find ways to prep ahead. :) I will be making the remaining loaf tomorrow to bring to a family gathering … can’t wait for everyone to taste it! It is so goooood! :)

  • June says:

    This bread looks wonderful and I’m itching to make it. I wonder if you could help as I’m a little confused as to the yeast measurement. When you say “1 1/2 tbsp instant yeast”, do you mean one and a half tbsp or just one half of a tablespoon? Sorry if this seems to be a silly question. Here in Scotland I think we may read quantities a little differently – well at least I do. Many thanks.

    • Jennifer M says:

      Not silly at all. For the yeast, it is one and a half tablespoons, so you would add 1 tablespoon + plus 1 1/2 teaspoons. Hope you enjoy the bread!

      • June says:

        Oh my goodness, oh my goodness! I followed your recipe to the letter, including using potato water and buttermilk and the bread came out just like your picture. For some strange reason I was surprised to find that when it came out of the tin it was the same, glorious colour all round. I used Gruyere and Rosemary and, when I cut into the bread, there were very professional and complex looking lines running through – I felt like a superstar bread maker *smile*. Thank you so much for this recipe Jennifer. With Christmas in the not too distant future, I intend to make lots of this bread, wrap it in Christmas tea towels with a big bow and give it as presents. I honestly feel like I have come across a real treasure. You’re very generous for sharing such a lovely recipe. I’m off to bake my second batch – cant wait.

        • Jennifer M says:

          Gruyere and rosemary sounds so lovely and I’m so pleased that your bread turned out so well! It will make lovely gifts.

  • Jani says:

    I’ve made these a few times now, with great success. Thank you!

  • April says:

    I made these and we enjoyed them for dinner tonight. Oh my goodness. Amazing and addicting! I have only one loaf pan so I put the second one in my round tube pan and it worked great! Thanks for a delicious recipe.

    • Jennifer M says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, April. You can also refrigerate the other half the dough and bake next day, if you need to.

  • Karen says:

    I just found you on pinterest and I’m so excited to follow your blog. I love all the recipes on your site, and it will be hard to decide which to make first! Thanks!

  • I made this on Saturday with pesto and grated muenster in one and softened butter, garlic and grated parm in the other. To say it was a hit would be the understatement of the century – can’t wait to make another batch!

  • Scott says:

    I made the cheese and herb. I also added pizza sauce and ham to one loaf and switched out half the cheddar for mozzarella.

  • So. Gorgeous! Pinning and sharing on FB… ;)

  • Brendan says:

    This looks great. Just going to clean the kitchen then I will start.

  • Amertang says:

    These look beautiful! Couldn’t wait to try. Now I just have to let them cool. :-)

  • Alex says:

    These look amazing and I will make them tomorrow! One question, do you have pictures of how to make the cuts? I’m having a hard time understanding the directions. Thanks!

    • Jennifer M says:

      Hi Alex. No sorry, I didn’t take pictures myself, but the shaping is exactly the same as for this Estonian Kringle (see photos in recipe instructions), except don’t form it into a circle at the end.

  • Dan says:

    These Breads are absolutely fantastic!!! Great Job!! I was looking for a great recipe to make a loaf of bread and am so very happy i stumbled upon these. Thanks so much. I’m going to try another one of your recipes for sure now.

  • evgenia says:

    I made on Friday (cheese and herbs). These breads are very delicious; so soft…… and looks beautiful. Thank you very much

  • Amy says:

    I am making this for the second time today. This bread is amazing- thank you so much for sharing! Our favorite is the parmesan version!

  • Sophie says:

    Eeee I was so proud of myself on these loaves! Not as pretty as yours, no, but so delicious. My husband is a baked-goods-aholic and we were both just in heaven noshing on slices! So glad I finally got around to trying this on a rainy, grey day! GREAT recipe, will become part of my regular repertoire :)

  • Rose says:

    OMG, I just made these and they turned out amazing! I was actually surprised, they don’t look as great as yours but they taste amazing. The crust is crunchy and the inside so soft and tasty. I left it in the fridge for 2 nights and thought maybe it didn’t rise enough but overall great bread, great recipe! This is dangerous to have in my house as I could eat both loaves myself haha! Thanks again!

  • Sarah says:

    Quick question: are your loaf tins 1lb or 2lb?

  • Sarah says:

    The texture of this bread is amazing, but I definitely think there’s too much sugar and not enough salt in the recipe. I used 2 1/2 tbsp of honey instead of 3 1/2 and it still tastes too sweet for a savoury bread. I’ll probably only use 1 tbsp next time and add a bit more salt and see if that balance works better.

    • Jennifer says:

      I think it’s really a matter of taste, Sarah – the whole sweet/salty preference – so definitely tweak to your taste. I have been pleased with it just the way it is.

      • Sarah says:

        This recipe is in no way alone in the salt/sugar thing. I made gluten free bread for my sister the other week and it was exactly the same issue. At least I know to alter recipes for myself now!

        I’m also a little surprised you used 1lb tins. I ended up with two 2lb loafs, not sure if the yeast were just particularly happy today, but I’m definitely not complaining.

      • Sarah says:

        This recipe is in no way alone in the salt/sugar thing. I made gluten free bread for my sister the other week and it was exactly the same issue. At least I know to alter recipes for myself now!

        I’m also a little surprised you used 1lb tins. I ended up with two 2lb loaves, not sure if the yeast were just particularly happy today, but I’m definitely not complaining.

  • Linda says:

    These breads are amazing!…made the cinnamon raisin too…very easy..gorgeous loaves…thank u!!

  • Tara says:

    Hi!! I don’t normally leave a comment but I just made both of these breads and they are to die for!! I couldn’t believe how soft and delicious they are, they are now a staple in my household. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!! :)

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks so much, Tara and thanks for coming back to let me know :) They are a staple in my house, too and I’m so glad you enjoyed them.

  • Sue says:

    Jennifer, I just sent you an email asking about the shaping if this bread. I’ve made it twice now and it is wonderful but does not look like yours. I scrolled down this site and saw where you took pics of the process, now it makes sense. Maybe it would help for you to say after slicing the loaf in half, you start braiding the two halves together pinching the ends together. I think using the word braid maybe people can visualize it better. My husband loves this bread. He eats it for toast in the morning as well. Thanks for such wonderful recipes.

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Sue. So glad you and your husband are enjoying the bread. I actually thought about calling it “braiding”, then worried that people would get more confused since braiding is usually done using 3 pieces (at least that’s how my brain works :) I’m going to make it again soon and will be taking photos of the shaping, so that it will be much more clear. Thanks! – Jennifer

  • Bre says:

    I have these in the oven right now and we are drooling over the smell! Can’t wait to see how they turn out :)

    • Jennifer says:

      Hope you enjoy them, Bre!

    • Sue B. says:

      I made these breads several weeks ago and we love them. However my husband liked the garlic and Parmesan the best, so when I make the bread I make two loaves of the garlic Parmesan and put them in the refrigerator and he eats some almost everyday. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes. I love to try new things.

  • Val L. says:

    Oh My… I made 2 of these (cheddar/chive) loaves this last weekend. My family absolutely loved them !! Thank you so much for this recipe. Crazy yummy.

  • Theresa says:

    I made this tonight and am over the moon with how it turned out. It was so easy but it looks so impressive. Thanks for the recipe!

  • ellie says:

    I’m no expert bread maker but I cannot wait to try out this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  • Stephanie says:

    Amazing bread!! I made it a 3 times in the last week!! I did my own version by adding jalapeños and green onions the cheddar loaf :) it’sa little slice of heaven!! Absolutely amazing!!! :)

  • Rebecca says:

    Wow. I made a single loaf version this weekend using a mix of old cheddar and jalapeno cheddar and it was delicious! the bread is so soft and tender, and dare I say it, moist. Really lovely recipe and thanks for the tip on not halving the yeast when halving the recipe. I had no idea – which concerns me as I’m not a neophyte!

    • Jennifer says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Rebecca. And you’re welcome! I baked bread for many years before I figured the yeast thing out :)

  • Who is the “Jennifer M.”??? You are FABULOUS. My gosh – these pictures! I’m trying this bread RIGHT NOW, but doing a small loaf pan… BTW – My name is a “Jennifer M.” also! Cheers and Pura Vida from Costa Rica! :)

  • Can I just be your apprentice? I want to make all your recipes and watch you take photos. Amazing.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks Tricia :) Baking bread is my happy place. Something about kneading dough is so therapeutic :) And this bread is one of my favourites!!

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