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.

476 Comments

  1. Kimberly P. says:

    This is absolutely the best bread recipe I have made! I have family members calling and begging for it! Delicious, easy and no changes needed to the recipe at all!!

    1. I’m thrilled it’s such a hit with your family, Kimberly!

  2. this is amazing! just so y’all know, the first time I used this recipe I used a yeast substitute because my yeast was dead. It kinda failed, but it was still delicious. This time I used yeast and it is gorgeous. It tastes SO GOOD and it was so much fun to make!

  3. Oh my goodness, these are so good! I used this recipe to make cheese buns and they are incredible. Thank you for this recipe!

  4. Krista Chadwick says:

    I make a lot of bread. This is an excellent recipe and I am very excited to add it to my collection. It was light and flaky. We ate this with chili and my teenage boys devoured it. I think this dough would work well for any braided or savory filled bread.

  5. I’m just wondering if bread flour is the same as bread machine flour?

  6. Sally,
    You may have answered this somewhere in your comments or in another post. Isn’t there a way to transform all-purpose flour into bread flour? I ask because finding bread flour currently is a challenge. Thank you for your help! Stay safe & healthy!

    1. Hi Theresa! I haven’t tried it myself, but a quick internet search pulls up some homemade bread flour options. Let me know if you try any!

      1. Hey guys,

        I risked it and used all purpose flour instead of bread and turned out okay. It really is a challenge to find flour nowadays unfortuantely!

        Sally, I used cream instead of buttermilk cause that’s what I had and it turned out great as well. I did use a little less cheese and totally regret it haha I didn’t get the gorgeous snail shape 🙁

        Thanks so much!

  7. Love my cheese bread with slices of jalapeños (seeded) the only way to make it.

  8. Christopher W says:

    This is the first time making this bread, and OMG it smells amazing and I have people walking past my apartment saying something smells good!

  9. Easy to follow instructions. Works well and very tasty. I used gruyere rather than cheddar to try and use up cheese that I had received from work.

  10. So good! I added jalepenos and it was delicious.

  11. I was a chef in my younger years and often got tossed into baking when the pastry chef didn’t make an appearance. As such, I only half follow directions on any recipe. I used AP flour, added Johnnys Garlic seasoning to the butter which is added to the dough, shredded some good romano in with my cheddar, few other tweaks. Holy crap it turned out good! Really good basic recipe you can play with.

  12. Hi Sally,

    I don’t have a stand mixer and my hand mixer doesn’t have a hook attachment, can I just use the hand mixer to mix the dough?

    1. Hi Molly, no I don’t recommend a hand mixer with the beaters. Instead, mix the dough by hand in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Knead by hand in the kneading step.

  13. Tim’s baking says:

    I had to use my first ever sourdough starter because, well you know, and OMG! This recipe has changed my life. My kids are no longer looking at me like I’m the next one to be voted off the island. Thanks for saving me for another week.

  14. I made this bread and it was delicious!!!!! Just wondering what would cause a LOT of tunnelling? My loaves had gigantic holes and didn’t look like yours, but still tasted great!

  15. Wow thank you. By far the best bread I’ve ever made. I had to substitute some things like butter milk and half the butter for margarine because of the pandemic but it turned out amazing. My 2 year olds have gone wild for it. Mine didn’t end up having those pretty ribbons because the cheese I used was pale and the loaf maybe expanded a bit more or something so there’s no gaps but it’s soft and flakey and delish. Thanks again.

  16. How would I change this recipe if I was using instant yeast? Do I still use the buttermilk and water?

    1. Hi Erin, I use instant yeast yeast for this recipe so simply follow it exactly as written.

  17. I made this today with pepper jack cheese and it is INCREDIBLE. It is so light and soft! And the sides got crispy from the oil I rolled the dough in for the rise so that added some lovely texture.. And it also has a buttery taste from the melted butter. SO GOOD!

  18. Hi! May I know the amount of 1 packet of yeast in grams? Thanks!

    1. About 7-8g.

  19. Marietta howe says:

    Best bread I have ever made and I’ve tried a lot as I purchased 15kgs bakers flour

  20. I have made this bread twice and it is delicious but as someone else mentioned, how do I stop all the tunneling. Mine always has large air pockets.

    1. Hi Kimberly! In addition to rolling the dough up very tightly, a trick I’ve found helpful is to poke the top of the risen loaf (before baking) with a toothpick in a few spots. This helps that steam escape from the top instead of making the air pockets inside.

      1. Thank you for your reply! I will try that for sure

  21. Grace McClellan says:

    this turned out beautifully with “wheat montana” all purpose flour and sharp chedder…. im going to try it with a whole pasayten flour which is also high protein and some pepperjack/ wonderful recipe for a beginner bread baker Thanks!!

  22. Love to this recipe. First time I’ve ever met cheese bread. Turned out amazing. I also fried in butter diced shallots and sprinkled the rolled out dough with caramelized shallots and it turned out amazing. This is definitely a recipe that I will keep using. Thank you

  23. Amazing. Bread tastes delicious and the recipe was so easy to follow. I felt like a professional making it! Thank you Sally! ❤️

  24. Satie Castillo says:

    Amazing recipe! Learned a lot of a recipe
    from you during this covid pandemic.

  25. Can you double this recipe so you can bake two at a time?

    1. For best results, I always recommend making two separate batches. Though some readers have doubled this dough successfully by doubling each ingredient. The first rise time will be longer since there’s more dough.

  26. I have recently tried this recipe at my home and it is really easy to make and very delicious in taste. Sharing here another cheese cream banana bread recipe. Check out the recipe here: https://www.recipespack.com/cream-cheese-banana-bread-recipe/

  27. Is there a video? I cannot figure out HOW to twist the after rolling the dough with cheese, and slicing lengthwise.

    1. I’m having the same problem! I can’t find a link to the video referred to in the text. Sally, please help!

      1. Hi! I’m glad to help. Give the video a few seconds to load and pause any ad blockers you may have in place. It’s under the words “Video Tutorial: Cheese Bread”

  28. Danika Epp says:

    I put finely chopped scallions in my dough and it created a fantastic flavour. I love Chinese scallion pancakes and cheesy bread so this was a fantastic marriage of both!

  29. Hi sally,
    I have use a few of your recipes and today i made this cheese bread and it was such a hit!

    I have 1 question though. You wrote to knead for only another 5 to 10mins. I use machine and followed up with hand knead but after 20mins i still didn’t think it reach the windowpane stage. I was afraid to overknead so i just stop there. Will this dough actually reach the soft smooth dough and window pane stage? Trying to figure out this bread making thing so hope that you can help me out. My dough was quite limpy and soft although it did proof double. So much of my cheese flow out as the dough didn’t hold it together. At 2nd proof it did rise high too.

    1. Hi Ac, thank you so much for reporting back about this recipe! I actually don’t use the windowpane test on this dough. This amount of kneading it plenty for the soft dough. Any more could result in a much denser loaf.

  30. I was wondering where the link was for the recipe video? I did not see that on this page…am I missing something? (NOTE: I also could not find the referenced video on the Simple Sandwich Bread recipe either.) Thank you!

    1. Hi Sarah! Give the video a few seconds to load and make sure any ad blockers are temporarily paused. The videos are also on my YouTube and Facebook pages.

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