Homemade Cheese Bread: Two Ways

Homemade Cheese Bread: Two Ways

Delicious soft Homemade Cheese Bread , made two ways – a lovely Cheddar cheese version and a Parmesan and Herb version.

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 Loaf, 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.

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.

Homemade Cheese Bread: Two Ways

Cook’s Notes for Homemade Cheese 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.

Video: How to Shape This Cheese Bread

While the shaping for this cheese bread is very easy, the process doesn’t translate easily into words, leaving some room for confusion. To make it easier, I’ve made a quick video that shows the rolling and shaping process for this Cheese Bread recipe …

And here they are, baked and ready to be sliced!

Soft Cheese Bread - Two Ways

Soft Cheese Bread - Two Ways

Soft Cheese Bread: Two Ways

Course: Bread
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: best cheese bread recipe, homemade cheese bread recipe
Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 24 servings
Energy: 237 kcal
Author: Jennifer

Delicious, soft cheese bread that can be filled with different cheese fillings. If you're measuring your flour in cups, hold back 1 cup to add as needed. This bread freezes beautifully. You can freeze it whole, or slice it and then freeze, so you can grab a couple of slices whenever you like. Makes 2 loaves.



  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour can use all purpose, if that's all you have (28oz)
  • 2 tsp fine salt (0.5oz) or 1 Tbsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 5 Tbsp white sugar (2.25oz) or 5 Tbsp brown sugar or 3 1/2 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (8oz) about 95F (for even softer bread, use 1 cup water leftover from boiling potatoes, cooled)
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp lukewarm buttermilk (9oz) or milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast (0.5oz)
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (2oz) or vegetable oil

Cheddar and Herb (to make one loaf):

  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced herbs (parsley and chives are good choices)

Parmesan, Garlic and Herb (to make one loaf):

  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or about 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic)
  • 1/4 cup minced herbs (parsley works well)
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature


  1. In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt and sugar* together. (Tip: If measuring your flour in cups, without a scale, hold back 1 cup to add as needed later). *If you're using honey or agave, add with the liquid ingredients instead.
  2. In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine the water and buttermilk and whisk in the yeast until dissolved. Add this mixture, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients. Mix by hand or with a dough hook, until the mixture is combined, about 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Continue mixing the dough, adding more flour or water, as needed, until the dough becomes soft, smooth and tacky, but not sticky.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, then form dough into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and either refrigerate for up to 4 days, or allow to sit at room temperature until doubled in size (about 60-90 minutes). (*Tip: I like to use an 8-cup glass measuring cup, so it's easy to see when it's doubled by the markings).
  5. Note: If you have refrigerated your dough, remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to bake, to allow it to come to room temperature.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Dust each with a bit of flour and then, using a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle approximately 10 inches wide and 16 inches long.
  7. **See original post "Cook's Notes" for a video that demonstrates the rolling and shaping process for this cheese bread.** 

  8. For the Cheddar and Herb Bread: spread shredded cheddar and herbs evenly over the surface of the dough. Starting with the shortest side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style and pinch the seam together.
  9. For the Parmesan, Garlic and Herb: spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan, garlic and herbs. Press lightly with the palm of your hand to press the toppings into the butter. Starting with the shortest side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style and pinch the seam together.
  10. Grease two 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pans and set aside.
  11. Shaping: Using a sharp knife, cut the roll of dough down the centre, lengthwise. Rotate each piece so that the cut sides are facing upward and place them side-by-side. Pinch together the farthest end. Keeping the cuts sides facing upwards as much as possible, place the right-side piece over the left-side piece. Straighen it up and then repeat, pinching together the end closest to you. If any cheese escapes, just place it back on top. Using a bench scraper or spatula, carefully lift the dough into the greased loaf pan. Repeat with the other dough log, then cover both with a greased piece of plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough rises to about 1-inch above the side of the pans in the middle.
  12. Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake for 45-50 minutes total, but after 25 minutes of baking, rotate pans front-to-back in the oven and loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil if necessary (if bread is already well-browned), to prevent the top from over-browning. Bread should reach about 185° internal temperature in the centre.

  13. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for a couple of minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the bread and carefully remove the loaves to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 1 hour before slicing.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Be sure to read the "Cook's Notes" in the original post, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!


Soft Homemade Cheese Bread - Cheddar and Herb

Soft Cheese Bread Loaf - Parmesan, Garlic and Herb

Soft Cheese Bread - Two Ways

More Homemade Cheese Bread Loaf Recipes from Seasons and Suppers


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  • Hello! For the Parmesan, garlic, and herb loaf, is the butter you smear on the dough salted or unsalted? I made it before and remember loving it but I can’t remember which kind I used…

  • Hi,
    Gonna try making this today. Other times I’ve made bread it had to rise in the bread pan again. Does this dough need to rise in the pan? Or straight to the oven after it’s been braided?

  • I made the first two loaves on Monday and they were beautiful and delicious and gone. Made the second two on Tuesday using mozzarella, cheddar, spinach and feta in one of the loaves. It turned out so pretty and tasty that I have two more rising now. The green spinach leaves against the golden crust is beautiful. I wish I could post picture. Thank you for this wonderful recipe

  • Hi Jennifer,
    I’m so glad to find your website! Your recipes look absolutely amazing! I’m making a return to bread making after a very long hiatus and so far, having great success. I’ll be making your cheese bread 2 ways tonight and proofing the dough overnight. Should I start the rolling/stuffing/shaping process right out of the fridge and then do the 2nd rising? Or allow to warm up first? If I don’t hear from you in time, I’ll follow my instincts to shape right out of the fridge.

    • Hi Elizabeth, I usually let the dough stand a bit out of the fridge. Doesn’t need to come to room temperature, just maybe sit while you have your coffee. Then shape and 2nd rise. Second rise will obviously be a little longer if the dough still has a chill to it. Enjoy the bread!

  • My friends and I are going to have a baking session next weekend, and I’m curious to try this bread. Is it possible to add the cheese and herbs at the final stage of mixing (after the window pane stage is ready, like other walnut or dried fruit bread) and shape them into balls instead? My friends haven’t made bread before, that I’m conscious the rolling out stage could be a tad too much for them. Thanks a lot.

    • Hi Vanessa, while it is possible, adding the cheese and herbs into the dough, you would affect both the rising time of the dough and the texture of the finished bread. Cheese in particular, is not like nuts or dried fruits. It’s oily. It doesn’t just sit in the dough, it incorporates with it as it bakes. And of course, you won’t get that vein of cheese and herbs, that I think is really the best part of cheese bread :) So in short, if you want to do what you’re suggesting, I would stick with a fruit/nut bread.

      For what it’s worth, this dough is one of the loveliest doughs to work with. It rolls out beautifully, so it’s super easy to work with, even for beginners. If you’re concerned about the cut/twist part, you could always just roll it up from the short end, then pop it into a loaf pan as a jelly-rolled loaf. (Down-side of this method is that you will often end up with gaps/holes in the finished loaf though).

  • Hi! I’m making these loaves as we speak. How long does each loaf last fresh and in a bread bin or does this bread have to be refridgerated or frozen?

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. This will be my first go at bread but I think it’ll be great!

    • Hi Kristen! It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, though I pop mine into a large plastic storage bag and leave it on the counter. It is best on baking day, still good on day 2, and after that, still good for toasting for a day or two. Since this recipe makes 2 loaves, I usually pop one of the two into the freezer as soon as it’s cooled. Enjoy the first loaf, then take the other one out of the freezer to enjoy later :)

  • My bread was extremely difficult to keep together in order to braid it. Then it fell in the center while baking. What did I do wrong?

    • Hi Thelma, so I’m not quite clear what fell apart. The dough itself? If so, and combined with the fact that it fell in the center suggests that the dough wasn’t risen. Did you dough rise well (double in size during the first rise)? Well risen dough is very elastic and shouldn’t fall apart, but rather stretch. Could this be the issue?

  • So I made this dough last night and I let it rise in preparation for forming and baking and then I realized I was out of time… after I pounded it down !
    So I reformed it into balls and put it in the fridge overnight to rise that would be the second Rise… Then this morning I rolled it out put in my toppings and braided it….

    please tell me it’s going to rise up the third time!!

    • 3 rises is asking a lot of your yeast, but this bread is heavily yeasted, so you might get lucky. If that happens again, you would be better off to shape it before refrigerating and then it could have done it’s second and final rise in the fridge overnight. Good luck!

  • Is it necessary to knead this dough to “window pane” stage? I’m new to making bread, but have heard/ seen that in a lot of recipes.

    • Hi Laura, The window pane test is one way to visually check that your dough has developed a good structure for rising well, but it can be a little hard to recognize, especially for new bakers. I would suggest that it is probably easier to just learn to recognize the look and feel of well developed dough. You want to work the dough (either by hand or in a mixer), until it is smooth (not craggy or crumbly) and moist (not dry and stiff, or not sticky to the touch). I always say it should feel “like a baby’s bottom”.

      I always use my stand mixer to knead this one until it is almost there, then hand knead on the counter for a minute or two. This one will probably not be as completely smooth as some doughs, as there is a lot of yeast in this one, so it’s quite active. You might have some small “bubble-like” dents in the dough. That’s fine. As long as it’s not sticky and it feels smooth and moist (not dry), you’ll be good :) Let me know how you make out.

    • Hi Ana, No problem. Just proof it separately with a portion of the liquid warmed to the recommended proofing temperature. Then add it into the mix once proofed. Enjoy :)

  • Hi! Did you change the recipe? I remember the last time I made it the amount of flour was done by weight as well as suggested volume (It was around 760-ish g if I’m remembering correctly?). And the liquid measures were done in ml if I’m not mis-remembering. Also, it appears the imperial to metric conversion is suspect. For the 1 cup plus 2 tbsp milk it’s converting it to 2880ml.

    • Hi Sarah, Sorry about that. My recipe card calculates metric measurements automatically and it didn’t do the best job. I have re-checked each ingredient and corrected where needed. It’s completely as it was now :) Simply click the “Metric” link at the bottom of the ingredients to see the gram measurements. Thanks for letting me know.

  • I’m planing to make this tomorrow. Looks so good. I’m surprised it does not call for an egg or egg yolk is that correct? I’m just checking to be sure. I tried reading all the comments but there are so many I may have missed something.

  • Hi there, this looks wonderful! I’m sorry to ask, as I’m a novice baker, but I’m not quite understanding how the dough shaping works. I’m trying to go through the directions and am getting a bit confused. I even tried to do some research on youtube to no avail. Was wondering if you could further explain this part. Can’t wait to try this and thanks for sharing!!! Looks amazing!

    • Hi Raymond, Follow this link and you can see how it’s shaped. Just skip the last bit that makes it into a ring. Just leave it straight. -https://images.food52.com/NiWstcy1iByIu8jKzecM8pS-_io=/753×502/bd266f7b-4826-474e-beb1-19742324b7e5–Estonian_Kringel_2_thumb-6-.jpg

  • I drive a dump truck for work. Just so happens my boss loves home baked breads. I made both loaves of this bread for him and he loves it. Thank You for my job security.

I love hearing from you, so if you have a question or something isn't quite clear, I'm happy to help. If you made this recipe, I'd love to know how you liked it ~ Jennifer

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