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

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


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.


  • 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)


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


  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.


  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.


Comments are closed.

  1. Oh my god Sally, so much yes!! Like, cookies and cake are great and all but bread is my absolute weakness. Didn’t you know I just made Nutella babka 3 days ago?! Lol. I honestly can’t wait to make this. It might happen first thing in the AM. My 1 1/2 year old is CRAZY and she doesn’t love bread, what the heck?! But she does love cheese so I hope this will convert her to love cheese AND bread! When I worked in a bakery, we made this fergasa bread and it was basically monkey bread style but with chopped cheese chunks, garlic powder and chopped green onions in the mix. It was amazing but if I’m being honest – this looks even better. I genuinely cannot wait to make this!

    1. Hopefully she approves of this cheese bread! My 2 year old loves it. Please let me know the verdict. 😉

  2. Pratima Lakhani says:

    What is bread flour?

    1. Hi Pratima! It’s a high protein flour most suitable for bread baking.

  3. What a gorgeous looking loaf of bread!! I can’t wait to make this!! Yay!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Shirley!

  4. Hi Sally. i can’t see the video tutorial for this?
    Where can i access it?

    1. Hi Neha! It’s located in this post beneath the header Video Tutorial. If it’s not showing up, temporarily pause any ad blockers you have in place and it will show right up. It will be on my youtube and Facebook page shortly, too.

  5. So happy you chose another yeast recipe! My husband has been baking bread for about a year now- I think I will hand over the reigns for this challenge !

    1. Yes! 3 challenges this year have been yeast breads as that was the #1 vote (by a landslide) for the majority! This is the year to tackle any fears of yeast and I’m so happy to help. I hope your husband enjoys baking this cheese bread and YOU enjoy eating it!

  6. Cheese bread is my favorite but I have never tried to make it before. I think I could do this!! Yum.

    1. You can totally do this! 🙂 I hope you’ll try making it yourself soon!

  7. I’m working on an Apple & Honey Babka right now…great minds! For this bread, I’m thinking about using sourdough starter discard in this recipe…any thoughts?

    1. Should work just fine, though I haven’t personally tested it. Let me know if you do! Thanks Tammy.

  8. Do you think powdered buttermilk will work?

    1. Shouldn’t be a problem.

  9. I was so excited to see that this monthly challenge is a yeast bread! It is so much fun to work with yeast….it’s like magic watching it rise! And this cheese bread looks delicious.

    1. It IS magic!! So happy you’re excited about this challenge, Debbie! 🙂

  10. I love grilled cheese and a local grocery store has a similar bread w/jalapenos. This makes a dynamite grilled cheese/stripes of bacon & sliced tomatoes. Can’t wait to make it.

    1. Oh YUM! Sounds incredible!

    2. Oh Dang! I am going to make this bread again and add chopped jalapenos!!! great idea!!! I love cheese and jalapeno anything!

  11. Oh my gosh, what an incredible recipe to wake up to on a holiday! I’ll be making this tonight. One question, can I possibly use whole wheat flour?

    1. Hi Susan! No, I don’t recommend whole wheat flour. If you’d like to use up your whole wheat flour, here are my favorite whole wheat rolls.

  12. I only have a 7 1/2 x 2 1/2 loaf pan. Should I make it 2 loaves so it doesn’t over flow my pan? I’m making for dinner tonight. Thanks

    1. Yes, I recommend two loaves.

    2. Thank you so much! Can’t wait to share pictures with you!

  13. So excited for this but they don’t sell bread flour here!!! so upset!!! Will it be a total total failure if I use all purpose?

    1. You can definitely use all-purpose flour but the bread won’t be as sturdy or chewy.

  14. Sheila Calnan says:

    Made this today. Actually got the challenge done, on the day it was posted. The dough was super easy to work with, BUT, it stuck to the loaf pan and basically broke in half. Bummer! I took out what was stuck to the pan and the taste is amazing. So soft and cheesy. The crust is great also. Not too hard. You can kind of see, the layers of cheese, but just not very pretty. No problem, as the taste makes up for the looks. Next time, think I’ll line the pan with parchment…a tip from one of the members on the FB group.

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe, Sheila! So sorry you had trouble with the bread sticking to the pan- great idea to try parchment next time! 🙂 Thanks for participating this month!

  15. I love to bake bread. This definitely is one to make. It looks sooo delicious!

    1. I hope you love this recipe, Deb!!

  16. Melissa Blais says:

    Just made this today to go with tonight’s supper. The entire house smells cheesy and garlicky, which is amazing. Flavour wise, it’s just delicious! I love these challenges revolving around yeast breads as I really enjoy baking different types of bread. Thanks for a great one

    1. So happy to read this, Melissa! Thrilled this recipe was a hit 🙂

  17. Oh my gosh!! This bread is soooo good! Thank you for the recipe. This is definitely a keeper

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe, Ursula! Thanks for your positive feedback 🙂

  18. Angela Ferguson says:

    The cheese bread looks delicious but do u think I can figure out your directions . I got the rolling out part putting cheese and rolling it up like the way u do cinnamon rolls but after you cut the log in half I’m lost…. Do u put one roll over the other and braid the top???duh to me and I read it over…. I defenitly want to make it but I need to get my brain around this. Thanks…

    1. Hi Angela! Yes, place one half over the other and twist them together. See my video tutorial and step-by-step photos as a guide.

  19. I love your recipes!! I also am deeply in love with bread and cheese, so this looks beyond amazing!! But I had a question…this looks so great but is there any way to weave the cheese ribbons even closer together? Maybe cutting in thirds instead of half? But I was afraid to try it and it be too thin, and all the cheese just falls out! Do you think it could work?
    Another thought…do you think the herb mixture could be put on the cheese before it is rolled up?

    1. Hi Breann! I fear the cheese would fall out everywhere. I recommend sticking with the recipe as written. You can brush the herb mixture on the rolled out dough rectangle before placing the cheese on top, but it really isn’t necessary and may make it too greasy. Hope you enjoy!

  20. We just pulled a loaf of this out of the oven. Oh my goodness! It’s SO GOOD.

    1. YAY! So happy you loved it, Libby!

  21. Hi Sally. I had so much fun making this bread. My difficulty was in twisting the two pieces. I think I got that a tad messed up. However the results were pretty good. I’m pleased and enjoying the wonderful taste. Thank you very much!

    1. Thanks so much for participating this month! So happy you loved this bread recipe 🙂

  22. This is soooo good! Turned out perfectly soft and cheesy. Thanks for another great recipe

    1. So happy you loved this recipe! Thanks for participating in this month’s baking challenge!

  23. I enjoyed making this recipe and found the dough easy to work with and supple. I found my oven needed less then the recommended baking time.

    1. I’m so happy you loved this recipe, Mary! Thanks for your positive feedback 🙂

  24. I have made the cinnamon bread many times, can’t wait to try this one!

    1. Hope you love this recipe, Lisa!

  25. Wow, this was so easy, and my dough turned out so soft and beautiful!! I am going to try the cinnamon bread recipe next, since I was able to conquer this one with ease. I have a hard time with doughs, someone said it is the desert location that messes things up, hmm. Well, all I know is this dough worked great!

    1. I love reading this, Jackie! Thrilled you enjoyed making this cheese bread 🙂

  26. Veronica Januzzi says:

    So Good and soft, the hard part to make it’s the roll and twist but I watched your video a couple of times and that help a lot.

    1. I’m so happy the video was helpful for you! Thanks for participating this month 🙂

  27. This recipe was easy to follow thanks to your video! My whole apartment smells amazing and I am so excited to taste the bread. Can’t wait for it to cool enough to slice!

    1. It smells SO GOOD while it bakes!! 🙂 Thank you so much for participating this month, Bridget!

  28. OMG totally loved this recipe! I was lucky to be able to capture photos before it was attacked, the request has been put in already for another loaf. All I can say is Yummy and Very Tasty. Thanks for the fun GREAT Challenge !

    1. LOVE reading this, Donna! Thrilled it was a hit!! 🙂

  29. Sally, this cheesy bread recipe is great! Baked it up yesterday and my whole kitchen smelled absolutely delicious. Heated up leftover slices today and slathered on some butter- SO GOOD!

    1. I’m so happy you loved this recipe! Thanks for your positive feedback!

  30. Hey Sally, got a good story for you. I started the dough tonight,with the intent of baking in the morning. I forgot to immediately refrigerate it…so surprised to see it doubled in less than 30 minutes. (Yeast on steroids???!!!) I asked my son for help with the shaping, cause well, it intimidated me a bit. It didn’t get in the oven until 11:30 and my son said, “I’m tired. I’m going to bed.” Not believing him, I said I’d see him in an hour. I mean, come on, fresh bread, right!!!! “No, Mom, I’ll be asleep.” Yea right. The bread came out beautifully and I texted him a picture at 12:30. Five minutes later I hear him scurrying downstairs, and then he complained he had to brush his teeth again! We both loved this, and of course we were too impatient to let it cool! Can’t wait to try it in the am, I know it will be even better. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Haha – this is great! I’m glad you had an excuse for a midnight snack 🙂

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