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 crusty 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. 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.

391 Comments

  1. Made this bread tonight, it turned out great! I covered the top with aluminum foil after 25 minutes because it was browning pretty quickly. Followed the recipe exactly and it was a breeze. Thanks for another wonderful easy to follow recipe!

  2. Baking with yeast always sort of scares me! I trusted the process and follow the instructions on your blog — The results are amazing! This bread is a keeper! Next time I think I mix it up a little and include some fresh herbs (I used dried) and different types of cheeses.

  3. This recipe was so fun to make. I felt so accomplish when it turned out so beautiful and so yummy! I usually get the yum factor down, but making a dessert look beautiful is a tough job. Thanks for the video which helped immensely! This cheese bread will not last a day in this house!

  4. I’ve made 2 loaves of this in the past 2 days. Fantastic recipe!! Not at all difficult & so so so good. The bread is unbelievably soft!! I used sharp cheddar but look forward to trying with other cheeses next time. One thing I want to mention, place the loaf pan on a baking sheet before going in the oven. The 1st time I made it I placed the loaf pan directly on the oven rack & there was a mess of smoke I had to deal with due to cheese & butter dripping out of the pan & onto the floor of the oven. Luckily I acted quickly enough to avoid all my smoke alarms going off. This recipe is a keeper & will be made many many more times in my kitchen!

  5. This turned out beautifully and so easy! I’ve been so intimidated by yeast over the years but got such a beautiful rise. Next time I may add some extra salt to the dough or the butter glaze!

  6. The last time I attempted bread I made rocks..lol. This bread was easy to follow the recipe and tastes so good. The texture is soft as promised and the flavor combination of the garlic and cheese is going to be a winner in my house (if i don’t eat a whole loaf tonight) im so glad I doubled the recipe. Your hard work has not let me down yet so I trusted it would be amazing. I can’t wait to try this with other flavors

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and positive feedback! I appreciate you participating in this month’s baking challenge 🙂

  7. Thank you for doing the hard work for me! Your recipe made it easy and FUN to create this beautiful and delicious bread! I followed your tip to cover baking bread after 25 minutes and that worked perfectly.

  8. Another amazing yeast recipe, and we have tried a few…star bread, bagels, pizza crust, none of them disappoint. Neither did this incredibly, soft, buttery, easy to make cheesy bread! Used it to make the most epic grilled cheese sammies ever, and will definitely make again!

  9. Made this bread for dinner tonight and it turned out great! Makes a great gift as well, for barbecues, potlucks, parties or just because 🙂

  10. This bread was so soft, cheesy and delicious. Dough was simple to make even though I had to add extra flour to make it come together. Might do it by weight next time. I had a bit of an issue with the twist and my dough wanting to come apart but I carried on and got it in the pan. Rose beautifully and browned nicely. Will definitely make it again.

  11. I made this bread today. I used a mix of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, also added some diced jalapenos to the cheese mixture. For the topping, I used parsley, oregano, garlic, and some cumin in the melted butter. It was so easy and tastes so good!! Served it with stuffed pepper soup for an easy dinner. Will definitely make again and I like that it’s easy to change up the cheeses and herbs for variety.

  12. The tutorial was helpful. The bread came out soft and very tasty! Overall relatively easy. Thanks Sally.

  13. This bread was so yummy. The crusty top paired with the soft bread in the middle was perfect! And so pretty. Thank you Sally!

  14. Yum, this bread is delicious! I used a mix of mild and sharp cheddar and it turned out great. Had this for dinner tonight with some homemade tomato soup and it was a perfect combo. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. I made this recipe with rosemary as the herb for the butter. It was my first time making any kind of bread–it was awesome! Thanks for the great recipe.

  16. This was my first monthly baking challenge and I loved this! Two questions though 1) Anyone try this with pre-shredded cheese? Just wondering if that changes the flavor at all. The most annoying part for me was shredding the cheese haha! 2) Mine ended up being a little under cooked in the middle, despite a really nice golden brown hue on top. Obviously I should have cooked it longer but is it true that not kneading the bread can contribute the loaf not cooking properly? I thought I remembered reading that before but I could be wrong. Still really enjoyed it though, we just ate around the slightly doughy parts 🙂

    1. Hi Kayla! I don’t recommend pre-shredded cheese since it’s a little dryer than freshly shredded cheese. However, keeping that in mind, you can make the switch if you wish. Bake the bread for a little longer if you try the recipe again– this ensures the center will cook a little better. You can tent with foil halfway through bake time to protect the top from getting too brown. Hope all this helps! Thank you so much!

  17. Amazing, soft bread! It tastes like it came from a bakery. I like how you can change up the cheese and herbs based on what you have in the fridge or what you are having for dinner.

  18. This bread turned out great! Very tasty. I was a bit worried about the shaping part being tricky and/or time consuming but it really wasn’t. The loaf is surprisingly easy to make, with only maybe 30 minutes of hands-on prep time.

  19. I’ve made cheese bread recipes before, but I’ll make this one again & again. It’s easy & delicious, and the buttermilk makes it incredibly soft. Sally’s directions, tips & the very-helpful tutorial were spot-on! One of the many reasons I’m addicted to Sally’s recipes.

  20. I made this bread today because the weather here is colder today and not sunny- perfect day to bake! Every time I make a yeast bread I become more confident in making it. This bread recipe came together beautifully for me. It was soft and supple and so easy to work with! The finished bread was amazing and I served it with a warm bowl of homemade broccoli soup. Oh, my goodness!! Thank you Sally for challenging us to another great recipe. Its a keeper for sure!

  21. This. Was. Delicious! It’s also a very forgiving recipe… this momma got distracted by fussing kiddos while she was baking so my twist was wonky and I forgot the buttery topping! BUT it was still delicious! It’s a yeast recipe but not intimidating and super easy to work with! Would definitely recommend!

  22. Finally got to baking this wonderful bread. It was so easy to make ( and I’m no friends with yeast generally ! 🙂 The instructions were so accurate and so helpful, and the end result is stunning. Soft, cheesy, full of flavor, a real hit !
    I made this with Yellow English Cheddar BTW, which was a great choice, and use basil for the topping which was also great.

  23. What a delicious cheese bread recipe! I actually used a cake/pastry flour by accident (oops) but it STILL turned out amazing. The melted butter and herb topping makes the crust heavenly, and our house smelled awesome for the rest of the day. Swirly cheesy bread for the win!! Thanks Sally 🙂

  24. I think I’ve tried almost all of your bread recipes- everything with yeast for sure. I made this bread to go with soup for supper tonight. Everyone said it was the best thing I’ve ever baked!
    I’ll be making this one on the regular! Thank you Sally!!

  25. I made this today for a potluck this evening. I was unable to find the type of yeast you recommend but otherwise followed the recipe as written. I used Tillamook Cheddar, and fresh parsley, chives, and thyme from my garden. Your video helped me figure out how to twist the bread; not sure I could otherwise have figured out how to do this step. I served the bread plain and got rave reviews. I will definitely make this recipe again.

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