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

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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  • This recipe looks fantastic, thanks for sharing! I’m making it today and was hoping to use one loaf today and the second one in 4-5 days.
    I really want that second loaf to fresh in 4-5 days. Would I be better off freezing the fully baked loaf or the dough?
    If I freeze the dough whats the best stage to do it at (and how would you store it and do you bake from frozen)?
    And how do you store and defrost a baked loaf?
    Do you pop it back in the oven for a bit?

    • Hi Sudha, I just freeze the baked loaf. Freeze as soon as it’s fully cooled in a freezer bag or well wrapped. To defrost, just set it on the counter (fully wrapped) and allow to thaw. It will be just as good as right after you baked it. I don’t re-warm in the oven. If I want a warm slice, I usually just pop it in the toaster.

      • Hi Nichole, While I have used instant mashed potatoes in bread, I’m not sure I would do a substitution here, especially not 1 cups worth. Potatoes can do wonderful things in bread, but only in small amounts. Too much and it will do nothing but weigh down the bread. My thought is not to mess with this bread dough recipe to that extent, as it is a beautiful dough as it is. One of the nicest bread doughs I’ve ever worked with, really. I’m not sure potatoes would improve it and could very well produce a less satisfying result. At the very least, I would make it as written first, then if you want to experiment with a bit of potato next time, at least you’ll know if it improved it or not :)

  • Hi Jennifer

    What will the difference be between using bleached bread flour or all purpose flour? It seems like you prefer the bread flour in your recipe. I have all purpose flour at home and I’m wondering if I should go out to get the unbleached bread flour.
    I look forward to trying out your recipe.

    • Hi Carissa, it’s really a case of “for best results” :) Unbleached bread flour will give you the absolutely best results. That said, unbleached all-purpose flour will certainly work (would be my 2nd choice), as would bleached all-purpose flour (3rd choice :). So it’s really your call. Not sure where you are, but unbleached bread flour is not that easy to find, at least here. I pick mine up at Bulk Barn here in Canada. Hope that helps!

  • Hey! Made this bread a couple of weeks ago, loved it, but found it a bit too sweet! Would it still be okay if decrease the amount of sugar, maybe to half? (I used brown sugar last time). Also, can I switch the all-purpose flour to whole whear flour? Thanks xx

    • Hi Sonali and yes, you can easily reduce the sugar, to taste (it doesn’t do anything but sweeten, except for a bit to feed the yeast). As for the whole wheat flour, you could, but you would drastically affect the lightness of the loaf, so I really wouldn’t recommend using all whole-wheat flour. You could replace a bit of the all-purpose flour (maybe 1/4 of it), with whole wheat if you like, but even at that amount, it will affect the lightness of the bread.

    • Hi Nikki, the dough itself can certainly, though the shaping method not quite as easily. I suppose you could twist it, then cut it into rounds and place in muffin tins? What were you thinking?

      • Hi Jennifer-

        My initial thought was to mimic the shape of Lion House rolls. But always open to suggestions.



        • Ok. So yes you could do a long, jelly rolled log and slice into rolls. You may find though that if you fill with cheese etc, you will get gaps between the rolls once baked. Not positive it will happen with rolls but it does with a loaf. That’s one of the benefits of the twist shaping. No gaps :)

  • just wondering how much time to leave for the second rise in the loaf pan? How long should does it typically take?

  • 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

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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