Homemade Cheese Bread – Extra Soft

It’s surprisingly easy to make homemade cheese bread. This soft buttery yeasted bread is twisted up with cheddar cheese, but you can use any cheese variety you love. Bake the bread in a loaf pan, then slice it to reveal the 2 cups of swirled cheese inside. The best!

homemade cheese bread

The inspiration behind this recipe comes from a local bakery, where I’ve picked up DOZENS of cheese bread loaves. Each of us love it, my almost 2 year old being the biggest fan. ♥

Cheese and bread. It’s obviously the greatest loaf of all time.

So I decided to make it myself. Brace yourself for impact!

cheese bread in loaf pan

What is Cheese Bread?

Let’s back up. This cheese bread is homemade bread swirled with real cheese. It’s a simple yeasted dough that I adapted from my sweeter homemade cinnamon swirl bread and my basic sandwich bread. Each slice is extra soft with a chewy crust and ribbons of melted cheese throughout. For extra flavor, brush the top of the unbaked bread with garlic herb butter. The cheese on top crisps up, while the garlic butter infuses down into the bread.

I have 3 loaves in the freezer right now. Things would become dangerous if there wasn’t a constant stash of cheese bread in our house.

Video Tutorial: Cheese Bread

Let’s walk through each step.

cheese bread

Ingredients in Cheese Bread

  1. Buttermilk: Liquid activates the yeast. For soft, flavorful, and chewy cheese bread, use a combination of buttermilk and water. Nondairy, whole, or low fat milks work too, but buttermilk produces phenomenal flavor and texture.
  2. Water: Although you could use all milk as the liquid in this dough, I preferred a mix of water and buttermilk. All milk made this taste more like an overly soft dessert bread.
  3. Yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise times will be a little longer. I recommend Platinum Yeast from Red Star, which is an instant yeast that is blended with natural dough improvers.
  4. Sugar: Sugar feeds the yeast, increases its activity, and tenderizes the dough.
  5. Melted Butter: Butter promises a soft and flavorful bread. Use melted butter. I found that room temperature butter produced a cakey-er and less flavorful end product.
  6. Egg: 1 egg provides structure and flavor.
  7. Salt: Bread would be seriously lacking flavor without salt!
  8. Garlic Powder: Garlic powder adds incredible flavor to the dough AND to the topping. If using fresh garlic, use 1 finely minced clove in the dough and 1 teaspoon minced garlic in the topping.
  9. Bread Flour: Higher protein flour like bread flour is best for this bread recipe because of its strong gluten formation and high rise. All-purpose flour will yield a flimsy bread.
  10. Cheddar Cheese: I recommend cheddar cheese, but you can use another harder cheese such as pepper jack, gouda, or colby cheese. Avoid very soft cheeses. For best taste and texture, shred the cheese off the block yourself with a cheese grater.

Did You Know?

The crustier and chewier the bread, the less fat in the dough– aka a lean dough. Chewy focaccia and my artisan bread are made from lean dough. The softer and richer the bread, the more fat in the dough– aka a rich dough. Monkey bread and cinnamon rolls are made from rich dough. This homemade cheese bread is somewhere in between. It’s chewy, super soft in the center, and a little crisp on top.

After the dough comes together, let it rise for about 1 and 1/2 – 2 hours. After that, punch it down and begin assembling the cheese bread.

Red star yeast platinum

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

cheese bread dough photos

How to Shape & Assemble Cheese Bread

Remember Nutella babka? We’re doing the same thing here. Pictures and explanations can only do so much, so make sure you watch the video tutorial above before assembling.

  1. Punch down the risen dough. Roll out into a 9×15 inch rectangle.
  2. Sprinkle cheese all over the top.
  3. Tightly roll the dough into a 15-inch log. Place the log on its seam.
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise.
  5. Criss-cross one half, cut side down, on top of the other half– forming an X. Tightly twist the two together.
  6. Pinch the outer edges to seal as best you can.

By the way, there’s 2 cups of cheese stuffed inside this bread. 🙂

cheese bread dough step photos

After it’s shaped, loosely cover the bread and let it rest for about 30 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven. Right before baking, brush the shaped dough with melted butter, garlic powder, and chopped parsley. Chopped basil would be excellent, too!

cheese bread dough in loaf pan

cheese loaf bread

There is no sight more beautiful. No smell more heavenly. No taste more paralleled!

The best part, besides that first cheesy bite, is slicing into the loaf to reveal all those swirls of real melted cheese. Like I said, this is obviously the greatest loaf of all time.

cheese bread

More Easy Homemade Bread Recipes

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cheese bread

Homemade Cheese Bread – Extra Soft

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You only need a handful of basic ingredients to make homemade cheese bread. This soft buttery yeasted bread is twisted up with cheddar cheese, but you can use any cheese variety you love. Bake the bread in a loaf pan, then slice it to reveal the 2 cups of swirled cheese inside. See recipe notes for make ahead and freezing instructions.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, warmed to about 110°F
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) water, warmed to about 110°F
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Platinum Yeast from Red Star (standard packet)
  • 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, melted + slightly cooled
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 cups (375g) bread flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • 2 cups (250g; 8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese (see note)

Topping

  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley (or your favorite dried or fresh herb)*
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm buttermilk, warm water, yeast, and sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, egg, salt, garlic powder, and 1 cup flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. *If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle!*
  3. Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. (See video tutorial above if you need a visual of kneading dough by hand.)
  4. 1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. Takes about 2 hours. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
  5. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  6. Shape 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 the dough out into a 9×15 inch rectangle (approximately). Sprinkle cheese all over the top, leaving a 1/2 inch border uncovered.
  7. Watch the video above to see exactly how I do this step. Tightly roll the dough into a 15-inch log. Place the log on its seam. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise. I find a serrated knife works best. Criss-cross one half, cut side down, on top of the other half– forming an X. Tightly twist the two together. Pinch the outer edges to seal as best you can. If you have any leftover cheese, cut a few small squares and tuck into the dough as shown in the video above. This is optional and simply for extra cheesy pockets! Place in prepared loaf pan and cover with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. (This step can get a little messy!)
  8. Allow the covered loaf to rest for 30 minutes. It will slightly rise during this time.
  9. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any cheese or butter that may drip down. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  10. Topping: Whisk the melted butter, herbs, and garlic powder together. Drizzle or brush on top of dough.
  11. Bake: Bake until golden brown and, when gently tapped, the top of the loaf sounds hollow, about 45-55 minutes. If you find the top of the loaf is browning too quickly as it bakes, tent with aluminum foil. (I usually place foil on top after about 25 minutes.) Remove bread the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and cool loaf on the wire rack.
  12. Slice and serve. Cover and store leftovers at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bread slices taste delicious when warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions – Overnight: Prepare the dough through step 3. Place into a greased bowl as directed in step 4. Cover the dough tightly and place in the refrigerator for up to 15 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and allow the dough to fully rise for 1-2 more hours. Continue with step 5. I don’t recommend shaping the bread the night before as it will puff up too much overnight.
  2. Make Ahead Instructions – Freezing: Baked bread freezes wonderfully. Wrap the cooled loaf in plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw wrapped bread overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then warm to your liking. You can also freeze the bread dough. After punching down the dough in step 6, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then punch the dough down again to release any air bubbles. Continue with the rest of step 6.
  3. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Box Grater, Rolling Pin, Loaf Pan, Pastry Brush, Cooling Rack
  4. Buttermilk: Buttermilk provides the softest texture and unbeatable flavor. In a pinch, you can use whole milk instead. Lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch, but the bread won’t taste as moist or rich. Here are other recipes using buttermilk if you purchase a carton and need to use it up.
  5. Yeast: Platinum Yeast from Red Star is an instant yeast. You can use Red Star Yeast active dry yeast instead. Rise times will be slightly longer using active dry yeast. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  6. Bread Flour: Higher protein flour like bread flour is best for this bread recipe because of its strong gluten formation and high rise. All-purpose flour will yield a flimsy bread.
  7. Cheese: I recommend cheddar cheese in this recipe, but you can use another relatively harder cheese such as pepper jack, gouda, or colby cheese. Avoid very soft cheeses. For best taste and texture, shred cheese off the block yourself with a cheese grater. Pre-shredded cheese is drier than freshly shredded. If you have extra cheese, cut a few small squares to stuff inside the twisted bread, as noted in step 7.
  8. Herbs in Topping: Use your favorite herb in the topping. If using dried, reduce to 1/2 teaspoon.

Keywords: cheese, bread, yeast

cheese bread

This post is sponsored by Red Star Yeast.

489 Comments

  1. I made this today along with the latter part of croissants (y’all must try that recipe, too! not as hard as I thought)…my neighbors were very happy! This bread is so very yummy and so easy! I definitely need more practice making the twist. For some reason, I had a lot of unmelted (cheddar and gouda) cheese?? I baked for 50 min with the foil tent placed at 25 min, so I think I need to go for the full 55 min. My loaf pan is a dark nonstick one and some recipes say to reduce the temp. I did not and kept is at 350 but as a ‘compromise’ I baked it in the middle of the oven, rather than the bottom third, so perhaps that led to the lack of melting. Either way, it was lovely and can’t wait to make it again!

  2. Lovely bread! I added extra cheese to it as I thought ‘why not’. My son asked me to add red chillies to it which I did. It tasted amazing! I used dried herbs on top with the butter/garlic mix. The kids said it tasted just like pizza. The only issue I had was when I was slicing it, the top was quite crumbly for some reason.
    Will make it again soon!

  3. I’ve turned this recipe into my all time go to savory bread recipe. I’m on my fourth loaf and I’ve given two out as gifts and they’re already requesting more. It’s soft and cheesy and buttery and absolutely delicious! I’m gladly gaining an extra 5lbs in quarantine from this recipe. If I could give it 10 stars I would. Absolutely divine!

  4. Hi Sally,

    Love watching you baking, you make it looks easy. I am new baker and i have a small loaf 24cmx 11cm. Can i still use this recipe? Thank you

    1. Hi Juliana, thank you! That size loaf pan will be just fine for this recipe.

  5. Hi Sally! Can I use KRAFT Cheddar Processed Cheese for this recipe? http://www.hilandsfoods.com.au/kraft-cheese/

  6. Christina scoville says:

    What if i added jalapenos?

    1. I definitely recommend it for extra flavor and some heat– thinly slice or chop a jalapeno and add it on top of the shredded cheese before rolling/twisting/shaping.

  7. Just made this. Id put a little less sugar coz it came out kinda sweet but other than that I LOVE IT!!!! Thank you for sharing

  8. Iain Nixon says:

    So, I tried this recipe but as a noobie, I paniced when I got to the idea of the folding idea shown above, so I changed it up a little.
    I rolled the dough out then spread the cheese mix (cheddar and parmasan) on the top and pressed it a little before folding it over in 3rds. I rolled and folded a few times before folding the dough to get the right width and lenght and popping that into the load pan to proof.
    After baking and slicing, I had layer upon layer of cheese melted into the bread.
    I also sprinkled a little onion powder on the top.

    I will build up the nerve to try the twisting method shown below, but that will take some time.

  9. Maria del Carmen Montoya says:

    I made this bread yesterday. It was amazing!!!! Instead of garlic powder in the top, I melted the butter with tiny slices of garlic. Wonderful taste!

  10. This bread is awesome! I used pepper jack and 2 jalapeños with all the seeds and it’s got some kick to it! Can’t wait to make it again with cheddar! Thank you, Sally! 🙂

  11. First bread I ever made and turned out perfect. Everyone loved it, just wanted to add that it is a great breakfast treat toasted as well. Delicious.

  12. Hello,

    I made this today. Unfortunately due to limitation i am only able to use 1cup of bread flour and 2 cups wheat flour. As i was kneading using hand mixer the dough doesn’t come together so i added 1 egg. After baking on 175c for 55minutes the crust was super toasted. Can you give an advise how should i have done it? Thanks.

  13. Made this bread with fresh yeast today and it turned out amazing. Baked closer to 35 min until the hollow knock sound. Tried to slow down your video during the twist part as did not really get it. Turned out Amazing with regular flour and questionable twist . Thanks for the recipe.

  14. lovely and easy recipe. Its very straightforward. I tried twice already. First with cheese and second one , I used a home-made red bean paste instead of cheese. Both were delicious. The bread is so soft. My daughter really enjoyed it.

  15. Wendy Cobham says:

    Found the loaf too dense so will use all purpose flour next time. Also I like garlic but felt the garlic taste overpowered the cheese bread and will only use the garlic in the butter and parsley mixture on top next time.

  16. As I’ve only ever made regular bread once or twice in my life, I was a little hesitant to try this cheese bread recipe as it looked like it might be a bit tricky. However, this recipe is super easy and it turns out just like the pictures! It tastes amazing too! This is my second time making this bread this month. My husband, who loves cheese bread, says this is better than what he buys at the bakery! It’s a keeper.

    1. I’m thrilled that you tried it and enjoyed it so much, Beth!

  17. I made it with my mom and it is AMAZING!!!.

  18. I made this yesterday, first time I made a loaf bread, and I’m so happy with the outcome! Just by the garlicky herby smell in the kitchen while baking, I could tell it is going to be delish… and it is so, that my husband who’s not a bread person loves it too, he’s on to his 2nd slice now. Thank you!!!

  19. Outstanding!
    Made two loaves as directed. A third with the addition of jalapeno peppers, the fourth with cheese and fried bacon bits.
    Thank you for the new family favorite!

  20. delicious! the bread itself is amazing, but the magic is at those folds of cheese! will make again, thanks so much for this 🙂 used cheddar this time, will use some colby next to experiment

  21. Hi Sally,
    The bread looks amazing and I can’t wait to try this. I am a new bread baker and I just bought my loaf pan and I realised there are holes at the bottom. Do I need to line with baking paper? If not, will the cheese and dough leak out?
    Thanks

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alicia, Some loaf pans are made with just a few small holes to help with air circulation. It should be fine wo use with this bread (although maybe not for a thin batter like a quick bread). If you are worried about it leaking you can place it on top of a cookie sheet.

  22. OMG – off the charts!!!!
    I made the dough in my bread machine and removed it before the first rise. It went into the refrig and I finished it the next day for dinner. It was beautiful, soft, and very flavorful. LOVE this recipe. It will be a regular for me, a regular and passionate baker.

  23. When I cut the roll in half, all my cheese fell out! Did I not roll tight enough, or did I overstuff?

    1. Hi Kristen! This can happen if you use a little too much cheese or if the log isn’t rolled up tight enough. If it happens, just stuff the shredded cheese back into the twist as best you can.

  24. Melinda Bizon says:

    Hello. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to make the cheese bread for “high altitude “.??? Thank you.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Melinda, I wish I could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  25. I’ve made this bread twice. The first time I followed the recipe exactly and it was absolutely delicious. The second time, though, I made them into little pinwheels and added pepperoni. I individually wrapped them and handed them out to my coworkers to bring home. They were a huge hit!

    For anyone wanting to try what I did, just follow the recipe exactly until the step where you roll it out. Once you roll it into the rectangle, cut off about a two inch piece of dough–I used this to make dough bottoms for the pinwheels.

    Then just spread the cheese across the dough, put some pepperoni on top and roll it up like you would the original recipe. Instead of cutting it lengthwise, cut like you would if you were making rolls. I made 12. I attached them to the bottoms I made and put them in a greased muffin tin. I still put the garlic sauce on just like the recipe said.

    However, I only baked them for 30 minutes! Any longer and they will burn!

    This is a great quarantine solution for people who want to bake for the office but need something that they can individually package easily. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this bread recipe. It is so easy and fun. I am a college student and only started baking during lockdown. I bought Sally’s cookbook immediately and I’m having sooo much fun. Highly recommend this recipe and ANY recipe on this website.

  26. Hi Sally,
    I can’t seem to find bread flour anywhere….I’ve read that you can use All-Purpose flour with Vital Wheat Gluten to make bread flour. Would you recommend this?
    Thank you so much for the wonderful cake recipes, I’ve tried out quite a few and also your soft dinner rolls and everything was a huge hit with my family! Love all your videos, you make everything look like ” a piece of cake”!!! :-))
    Thank you,
    Renuka

    1. Hi Renuka! Thank you so much for the comment. I haven’t tried making my own bread flour at home before, so I can’t offer any advice there. (However I know some bakers have made their own that way so you could definitely try it.) In a pinch, simply use all-purpose flour here.

  27. Made this last week. Was absolutely delicious, cheesy and soft tastey bread. Mine did rise significantly which resulted in huge air pockets around the layers of cheese. This made it very difficult to slice and impossible for the toaster. I will definitely make again, but will perhaps try the method of folding over a few times rather than twisting to see if that will produce an easier loaf to slice.

  28. Made this recipe today – the SOFTEST bread ever. So delicious. And quite easy to make!!

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