A few readers requested savory football food recipes and snack-style pull apart bread came to mind first. After weeks of brainstorming, asking your suggestions, and a little recipe testing… I baked the BEST PULL APART BREAD you will ever eat. This loaf-style pull apart bread is prepared with easy homemade bread dough, garlic herb & mozzarella cream cheese filling, and everything bagel seasoning on top.
- My assistant said “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten.”
- Our friend said “This stuff is dangerous.”
- Another friend said “Alert me when you publish the recipe so I can make it.”
- And then “Get this away from me because I can’t stop eating it.”
- And, finally, I said: “This is another example of why I love carbs.”
Pull Apart Bread Dough
The everything bagel pull apart bread begins with homemade dough. A lot of homemade yeasted bread recipes yield 2 or more loaves, but I only wanted 1. It required a little testing, but I found the perfect ratio of ingredients. Pull apart bread dough combines 7 simple ingredients: sugar, milk, butter, salt, egg, flour, and yeast. Here’s the purpose and importance of each:
- Sugar feeds the yeast. Only 1 Tablespoon in the recipe.
- Milk hydrates the yeast and gives the bread a softer texture (as opposed to water).
- Butter and salt give the bread flavor.
- Egg contributes to the bread rising as well as providing texture/structure.
- Flour is the structure of the bread.
- Yeast makes bread… bread!
Let’s Talk About the Yeast
We’re using a superior yeast: Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast. Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast is an instant yeast that strengthens our dough and provides extra volume to the final product. It’s my preferred yeast for any and all bread baking– I use it exclusively in my kitchen because it’s always a guarantee!! If you don’t have Platinum, Red Star Active Dry or Quick Rise Yeast works too! If using active-dry, your dough may take a little longer to rise. We only need 2 teaspoons of dry yeast, a little less than 1 standard packet.
The dough rises twice.
- The first rise is after the dough is prepared. It will rise for about 1 hour until doubled in size. After the first rise, you can continue with the recipe, refrigerate the dough to use later in the week, or freeze it.
- The second rise is after the pull apart bread is assembled. It will rise for about 45 minutes.
During the first rise, get your everything bagel goodies prepared. 🙂
Homemade Everything Bagel Seasoning
Everything bagel seasoning is so easy! You can buy it from the store or mix it up at home with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried minced onion, dried garlic flakes, and coarse salt– the same seasoning I use for homemade everything bagels.
Other uses for everything bagel seasoning: sprinkled on hummus, buttermilk biscuits, homemade cheese bread, scrambled eggs, toast, fish, chicken, homemade soft pretzels, pretzels rolls, cornbread, salads, guacamole, pizza, and more!
Garlic, Herb, & Mozzarella Cream Cheese
We’re combining, butter, cream cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, garlic powder, and your choice of fresh or dried herbs. This mixture will be spread on top of the dough before it’s shaped in the pull apart style. The first time I made this everything bagel pull apart bread, I skipped the mozzarella cheese. It was good. When I added the cheese, it was GREAT. Much more of a stretchy cheesy pull apart style.
After the dough has risen, punch it down and roll it out. Spread on the cream cheese mixture.
How to Assemble Pull Apart Bread
There are a billion ways to shape/assemble pull apart bread. King Arthur Flour has a blog post about different ways to shape pull apart bread that I found interesting. This particular way doesn’t require a ruler, strict measurements, or any precise measuring:
- Break out a round cutter. You can use a round biscuit cutter, anywhere around 3.5-4 inches. I have this set of round cookie cutters and the various sizes always come in handy.
- Cut dough into circles.
- Fold the circles in half and arrange in the loaf pan.
What to do with the leftover dough scraps? Scroll down to below the recipe. I have something AWESOME you can make. The results are unbelievable!!
Here are all the filled circles folded in half and lined up in the loaf pan:
Let the assembled pull apart bread rise for about 45 minutes, then sprinkle with our everything bagel seasoning. Look at how puffy it got:
Bake until golden brown, then pull it apart and dig in!
This pull apart bread hits the spot. It’s:
- soft in the center
- crisp on the edges
- fun to eat
- fun to share
- so addicting it’s scary!!
With make-ahead and freezing instructions, there are so many ways you can prepare this pull apart bread ahead of time. Or if you have a few hours one day, make it all in one go. Truly one of the best savory snacks we’ve had and I guarantee you’ll say the same after 1 bite. See more below the recipe!
Starting with a simple buttery homemade dough, this pull apart bread is filled with cheesy garlic & herb cream cheese and topped with everything bagel seasoning. Baked until golden brown and served pull-apart style, this snack is truly irresistible. It’s flaky, salty, savory, garlicky, cheesy, fun to eat, and fun to share!
- 2 teaspoons Red Star® Platinum yeast*
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
- 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 2 and 1/3 cups (290g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces (224g) brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1–2 teaspoons Italian seasoning*
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 cup (70g) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Everything Bagel Topping
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds*
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds*
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion*
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried garlic flakes*
- 1 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
- Make the dough: Place the yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Or, if you do not own a stand mixer, a regular large mixing bowl. Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave until warm to touch, about 110°F (43°C). Pour warm milk on top of yeast/sugar. Whisk gently to combine, then loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will be frothy after 5-10 minutes.
- If you do not have a mixer, you can mix by hand in this step. Add the butter, egg, flour, and salt. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Dough will be soft. Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Using lightly floured hands, knead it for 1 minute. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add 1-3 more Tablespoons of flour, but you want a very soft dough. Shape into a ball.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl (I use nonstick spray to grease) and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place in a slightly warm environment to rise until doubled in size, around 60-90 minutes. For this warm spot, I suggest using the oven. Preheat to 200°F (93°C), then turn the oven off after preheating. Place the covered bowl inside and shut the oven door. This is your warm environment.
- As the dough rises, prepare the filling and topping in the next steps and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- Make the cream cheese filling: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat all of the filling ingredients together until combined. Cover tightly and set aside until ready to use. (Don’t refrigerate unless making well in advance. It’s easiest to spread on the dough when at room temperature. If refrigerated, let it come to room temperature before spreading on dough in step 7.)
- Make the topping: Combine the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried minced onion, dried garlic flakes, and coarse salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Assemble the bread: Punch down the dough to release the air. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll out until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. The dough can be any shape, just as long as it’s around 1/4 inch thick. Spread cream cheese filling on top. Using a 3.5 – 4 inch circle cookie cutter, cut into circles. I get about 12 circles. Fold circles in half and line in prepared baking pan, round side up. See photos above for a visual.
- Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and allow to rise once again in a slightly warm environment until puffy, about 45 minutes.
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position then preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Brush dough with the 2 Tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle everything bagel seasoning on top. (Use as much of the seasoning as you want; extras can be used for any of the suggestions listed in the post above.)
- Bake until golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. If you find the top of the loaf is browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and serve warm.
- Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Freeze baked and cooled bread for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator and warm in the oven to your liking. The dough can be prepared through step 3, then after it has risen, punch it down to release the air, cover it tightly, then place in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Continue with step 5. To freeze the dough, prepare it through step 3. After it has risen, punch it down to release any air. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator. Then let the dough sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before continuing with step 5. (You may need to punch it down again if it has some air bubbles.)
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Loaf Pan | Rolling Pin | Circle Cookie Cutters | Pastry Brush
- Yeast: I always use Red Star Platinum yeast, an instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise times could be slightly longer.
- Italian Seasoning: I used Italian seasoning blend in the cream cheese mixture. You can use any dried or fresh herbs you like. Dried works a little better in the baked bread. Dried basil, parsley, oregano, etc.
- Everything Bagel Seasoning: If you don’t care for one of the everything bagel seasonings, feel free to swap it out with another that you love.
- Leftover Dough: To avoid having leftover dough scraps with the garlic herb mozzarella cream cheese mixture on them, you can spread the mixture individually onto each circle. Make sure you load it onto each! Then just save the leftover scraps to make pizza, rolls, whatever. But I found it easier to spread the whole thing with the garlic herb mozzarella cream cheese mixture. See below for what I do with my extra dough scraps!
Since we’re using a cookie cutter for shaping this pull apart bread, we’re going to have some dough scraps leftover. The dough scraps are topped with the herbed cream cheese mixture so WHY NOT shape into a ball, then roll it out to make pizza? Pizza on top of a tender and flaky homemade garlic herb cream cheese dough. This pizza might even be better than the everything bagel pull apart bread itself!!
Since the dough is covered with the wet cream cheese mixture, you’ll need extra all-purpose flour on hand. Using well floured hands, peel the scraps off the counter and shape into a ball. This will be messy. Add more flour to the dough as needed (I probably added about 1/2 cup of flour) and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. It’s still going to be a little wet; thats ok. Flatten it out with floured hands or a floured rolling pin as best you can. Top with pizza toppings and bake in a 475°F (246°C) oven for 15-20 minutes or until browned to your liking.
I used homemade pesto, mozzarella cheese, caramelized onion, halved baby tomatoes, and when it came out of the oven, I topped it with our everything bagel seasoning. 🙂
In partnership with Red Star Yeast.