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.

My Best Tips for Baking with Yeast

I think most of the problems people have with baking with yeast, is treating yeast-based recipes like say, a cake recipe, where you just measure the ingredients, mix them all together and bake.

Yeast-based recipes just can never be that precise. Things like temperature, moisture in the flour your are using, the season your are baking in and rising time can differ from one kitchen to the next. All that makes yeast recipes less consistent from one kitchen to the next.

Now that you know this though, that’s more than half the battle :) Baking with yeast isn’t just measuring, mixing and baking, like a cake, for example. You’ll need to add to the mix a little trust in what you see (it looks sticky, so it needs more flour, regardless of how much flour the recipe says should go in), and a feel for the dough (does it feel smooth like a baby’s bottom when you’re done kneading?) and watching much it has grown in size as it rises (rather than watching the clock). Do that, and all will be good!

  1. Be careful with the temperature of your proofing liquid before adding the yeast, so you don’t compromise the yeast from the start. If the liquid is too cold, the yeast won’t activate. Too hot and it will die. The best temperature range for proofing liquid is 105-110F for Active Dry Yeast. Instant yeast is a bit more forgiving and can take temperatures up to 120F. All yeasts die at about 140°F. An Instant Read thermometer is handy to have on hand to check.
  2. Always treat the amount of flour specified in yeast-based recipes as “approximate”. Flours will vary from kitchen to kitchen and by season, so the amount needed to make a smooth, soft dough will vary.
  3. Given tip #2, I always hold back 1/4-1/3 of the flour specified in a recipe and add in only as much as is needed. If you dump all the flour in at the start, you may find that it is too much and it’s difficult to adjust well after that.
  4. Use a large glass measuring cup to proof your dough. It’s easy to see when the dough has doubled.
  5. Be patient. Rising times are also “approximate” and will vary as well. Trust what you see and not the clock.

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 Maloney

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!


More Homemade Cheese Bread Loaf Recipes from Seasons and Suppers


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  • 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.

  • Thank you! After a week of eating a lot of meat, I fancy making a leek and potato soup tonight and wanted the perfect bread to go with it. This recipe sounds like the one, so am off to the kitchen now to get started! Will let you know how it works for me- bread isnt my strongest point, but the feel good factor is worth each effort make to get it right! :)

  • Hi there I am looking to try this recipe out but was wondering if you could clarify two things:
    1.) the recipe states 1 cup + 2tbsp lukewarm milk/buttermilk so does that mean 1cup with 2 table spoons in total or 1cup milk with 2 tablespoons buttermilk?
    2.) The oven temperature 350, is this is Fahrenheit or Celsius?

    Many thanks!! Can’t wait to try this out :)

    • Hi Marty and yes, I can clarify :) You can use either milk or buttermilk in this bread. Whichever one you use, you should use 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. of it. And it’s 350F. Hope that helps and enjoy!

  • The bread and photos look positively award winning! You are an “Artist”.
    Off to the kitchen I go…………wish me luck! Thx jojo.

  • I’m planning to make this bread on Wednesday (it looks so delicious!) and was wondering if you could give an approximate time for how long it takes to prove the second time. Roughly an hour like the first?

    • Hi Sarah, As always, rise time varies (sometimes wildly) between kitchens, depending on the temperature of the kitchen, BUT … I find the second rise is typically shorter than the first. I would say somewhere in the 30-45 minute range. I always do my second proof with the loaves set on top of my pre-heating oven, so that may speed things up slightly in my case.

      • Great and thanks so much for the speedy reply. I’ll be sure to keep the windows shut while I let it rise – it’s warming up in the Toronto area, but it’s definitely not summer yet!

          • I hope you don’t get anymore snow! It’s almost May, the snow should be finished. :)

            Made the bread up this afternoon. I used some nice sharp cheddar and a bunch of chives. It was fabulous. Thank you so much for the recipe. Not only did it make me brave enough to attempt making bread, it also gave me delicious bread. Win win all around.

            • So glad you enjoyed the bread! It’s endlessly customizable with all kinds of fillings (savoury and sweet :). And yes, even for here, late-April snow is unusual. Hope that was the last of it!

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

  • 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! :)

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  • 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 :)

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

  • 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!

    • 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.

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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