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. I made this for the challenge this month. The dough was very easy to make and it came out amazing! I used a white cheddar but next time I think I’ll use an orange cheddar so that I can see the swirls better.

  2. This looks sooooo good!! Sprouts used to make one like this but it had jalapeños inside, I was obsessed haha. Yours looks so much more appetizing.

  3. My family of 4 almost put this entire loaf of bread away in one day! We all enjoyed it very much! I would say if your family enjoys garlic flavor, it needs a little extra added to the bread dough. We are excited to try it with pepper jack next! Thank you for another creative challenge, Sally!

  4. The dough was easy to work with and loved the cheddar, garlic flavor. Excited to try a sweet filling maybe (?) next time with this dough (minus the garlic powder 🙂

  5. This was so yummy! I think I might do a sprinkling of dried thyme over the cheese before I roll it next time. I used it for the top and it made for a delicious bite! Love the texture of the bread – so soft and yummy. I think I need to make your babka again, too…

  6. I made this yesterday – it was fun and went well thanks to your recipe instructions and video 🙂 because we don’t have orange cheddar I used 80g English Red Leicester cheese and 120g English mature white cheddar and topped it with two grated garlic cloves, melted butter and chopped fresh rosemary – so delicious!! Thank you Sally!

  7. Bread is the hardest thing for me, but this recipe made it easy! I need to practice twisting the bread more, but the flavor was great. I used basil for the herb, and it was great!

  8. I made the Cheese Bread and WOW is it ever delicious! The recipe is well written and easy to follow. The video is helpful for the twisting part of the recipe so I recommend watching that.
    I used aged Gouda cheese (nice salty flavor) and fresh rosemary on top. The bread is so incredibly tender with a garlic flavor and the exposed cheese on top…oh my! The cheese gets slightly crunchy takes on that toasty flavor that is out of this world. I plan to play around with different cheese/herb combinations.
    I give this recipe highest marks. Do try, you won’t be disappointed!
    Challenge complete.

    1. Thank you for participating in this month’s baking challenge! Your cheese bread sounds divine and I’m so happy you’ll be making this again! 🙂

  9. I made the bread for this month’s challenge and I must say I was thoroughly surprised! I followed the recipe exactly, watched the video, and it turned out perfectly :). The family loved it and commented on how pretty it looked. This is the first time I’ve made bread and I’ll definitely be making it again.

  10. I just my made your Cheese Bread for the September Challenge and my family absolutely loved it. I couldn’t have done it without your help Sally. The video was so helpful. I finally got to use the dough hook on my mixer for the first time and I’m no longer hesitant to use yeast.

  11. It’s going to be on the chillier side with a small chance of rain as the next weekend approaches…perfect time to make this delicious looking cheese bread!

  12. This recipe was DELICIOUS! It will make it into our family rotation. I love that it was approachable and can be made in a reasonable amount of time. I did basil on top and it rocked!

  13. This is such a fun bread to make! I am just learning how to bake and this recipe was such a confidence booster. I wish I would have made a few loaves to share with friends and family.

  14. The aroma that wafted through my house as this was baking was AMAZING! This is a recipe I will definitely make again!

  15. “Woah. That looks amazing!” – My boyfriend as he walked into the kitchen just after the bread came out of the oven. It tastes just as amazing as it looks, and was super easy!

  16. Great bread! I think next time I’ll add some butter on top when it comes out of the over for an added shine and flavor. Also think jalapeños inside would add some nice flavor.

  17. I’ve made this twice—I always say I’m going to make a recipe again, but this is the first time I’ve actually done it two weeks in a row—and it is so delicious. I had to give half the loaf away each time! The bread is soft, the cheese and garlic are perfect, and the parsley in top is just a little extra bit of deliciousness. I make my own buttermilk with lemon juice and milk, and it works really well. It’s so good toasted up for breakfast. Or a snack. Or with dinner…

  18. I’m not going to lie, this months baking challenge was an intimidating one for me! I’ve never made my own bread, but OMG was this cheese bread good! Thank you Sally for continuing to give us these fun challenges each month, they are helping me to become a more and more confident home baker!

  19. This was pretty easy for this beginner! The hardest part was the cut and twist but worth the slight moment of panic. I think I watched the video demonstrating the twist about 4 times before I went for it. I added bacon and jalapeños just to make it a little extra. Thank you for another great recipe. It will be made again in our house.

  20. Excellent recipe.
    Mum and I loved it on the first night. Second day we heated it up for lunch – mum wasn’t as keen but I thought it still tasted nice.
    I added a bit more garlic, basil and cheese than the recipe states.

  21. Really good soft bread! Loved it. I had to add more flour to get the dough to come together, but thats the beauty of bread baking!

  22. Loved this recipe! A great way to get into yeast if you haven’t yet. Had fun making this with my son and felt it was a great recipe to share with little ones. The whole family loved the bread! Can’t wait to make it with different cheeses and fillings. Thanks Sally for yet another keeper!

  23. This is my first ever baking challenge and my first time making bread too! The recipe is so easy to follow, and the video tutorial definitely helped as well! Thank you teaching me how to bake bread! Hahaha I was so proud of myself!

  24. Woah! This bread was SO easy to make and even easier to eat . I love that it is so soft and cheesy on the inside with a nice crust on the outside! My family enjoyed the outcome too, they love it when I find new recipes to try from this blog . Happy tastebuds & bellies over here!

  25. This bread is awesome! So chewy and cheesy. Thanks Sally for posting this for the September Challenge! Definitely making again. 🙂

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