Savor it: Christmas Cheese Bread

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Sweeeeeeet!

TOO sweeeeeeet…..

Holiday baking got you down? Has an overdose of sugar made you blanch at the thought of yet another Christmas party rife with cookies, awash in eggnog, and overflowing with candy-coated treats of all descriptions?

Then it’s time for a break.

A cheese break, to be precise.

There’s nothing like the savory/smooth flavor of cheese to cut through empty carbs, and soothe the sugar-sated heart. Christmas Cheese Bread, a Parmesan-scented quick bread studded with sun-dried tomatoes and scallions, has been a favorite of mine for years.

Serve it at breakfast, with scrambled eggs. Make it into a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Enjoy it at dinner, with a plate of pasta. But however, wherever, and whenever you make this bread–

Just serve it. Your taste buds will thank you.

This is a QUICK bread, as noted (no yeast, no rising time), so begin by preheating the oven to 350°F.

Grease a 9″ round cake pan, or 9″ round casserole.

Prepare 1/2 cup finely chopped scallion tops, chives, or green bell peppers; and 1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, iced red bell peppers, or diced pimientos. Here, I’m using scallions and sun-dried tomatoes.

Add 3 large garlic cloves, crushed. Garlic is optional; leave it out if you like.

Set these vegetables aside.

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar, mozzarella, or the cheese of your choice
4 tablespoons softened butter

Mix together until well combined and crumbly.

Add the prepared vegetables and garlic.

Mix until well distributed.

Whisk together 4 large eggs and 1/2 cup whole milk or half & half.

Set aside 1 tablespoon of the mixture, to brush on the top of the loaf.

Add the remaining egg mixture to the dry ingredients.

Mix just until everything is thoroughly moistened.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl…

…and turn the stiff batter into the prepared pan.

Using your wet fingers, smooth it to the edges of the pan. Make it a tiny bit concave, so the edges are just slightly higher than the center.

Brush the top of the loaf with the reserved egg mixture.

Now here’s one of my go-to ingredients, for all manner of pizzas and Italian breads: pizza seasoning, a mixture of dried onion, garlic, herbs, spices and salt.

Sprinkle the bread with pizza seasoning, if desired.

Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes. its concave center will dome nicely, without rising TOO high above the center.

The loaf will be a light golden brown on top, and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf will register 150°F to 155°F.

Loosen the edges of the bread from the pan…

…and turn it out of the pan onto a rack.

Whoops! Guess I didn’t grease the pan well enough.

But if you work quickly, you can stick any errant pieces back where they belong, and no one will be the wiser.

Turn the loaf right side up. Admire its golden-ness.

It’s best to let the bread cool for 15 minutes or so before slicing, to avoid squashing it down.

Serve the bread warm, toasted, or at room temperature. It’s a wonderful breakfast bread, served with eggs.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Savory Christmas Cheese Bread.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. daphnewoman

    Wow! I know what I’m going to make to go with my White Bean and Chicken Chili tonight!!! Thank you PJ! At the moment I have 4 loaves of Christmas wreath sweet bread for sharing with friends and family. This savory delight will be just the thing to cut through some of the sweetness of all the Christmas goodies! Great timing!

    Reply
  2. Teresa

    It looks great and so quick! How is the texture on the next day? This would be terrific recipe to have when some tasty bread is needed quickly.

    Like any bread, Teresa, it’s never AS good the second day, but it keeps as well as most breads. You can always gently rewarm or toast slices if it seems to be getting stale. PJH

    Reply
  3. milkwithknives

    Oh, that looks so GOOD with the tomatoes and green onions, and I love quick breads that aren’t drowning in oil/butter. I can’t drink regular milk (dairy allergy) but always have buttermilk in the fridge for baking, so I’ll make the necessary baking powder adjustments and try it that way.

    And yes, I officially hit the sugar wall a couple of days ago. Popcorn for dinner, anyone?

    Reply
  4. mikjoy2

    Looks delicious. PJ, can I add some of the Vermont Cheddar Cheese powder along with the grated cheese and shredded cheese or would it be too much? I bought the powder and have yet to use it. Either way I will make the bread to take to Christmas Eve dinner and buy a nice baking dish to put it for a hostess gift. Thanks for a wonderful year of great recipes. I look forward to the New Year

    Happy Holidays to everyone at KAF!!!!

    Joyce

    Happy holidays to you too, Joyce. Sure, go ahead and add 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup cheese powder; in my opinion, you can NEVER have too much cheese! :) PJH

    Reply
  5. Dan

    Do you reconstitute the sun-dried tomatoes, or are they oil-packed ones, or do you leave them dry before mixing them in?

    I buy ones that are moist, but not oil-packed; they’re the consistency of dried fruit. I use them as is. If oil-packed, I’d drain them. If brittle dry, I’d reconstitute, then squeeze/blot dry. Hope this helps, Dan – PJH

    Reply
  6. chigal

    looks like your pan is deeper that a cake pan. wouldn’t it flow over in a regular cake pan?

    So long as your 9″ pan is at least 2″ deep (standard size), it’ll be just fine… PJH

    Reply
  7. cartvl219

    OK PJ! You got me with the grilled cheese sandwich. This is now on my to-do list — after the supply of sugary stuff is reduced. As usual I have overdone it on the cookie front. I blame KAF for all the wonderful recipes that I just have to try!!! (With my b-day the day before the solstice, I made the Solstice Shortbreads and I just had to try Sugar Plums and the Fruitcake Drops and, and, and!!) But seriously, thank you for all the wonderful recipes that flow into my in-box all year. You folks are truly a great inspiration.
    Carolyn

    Happy birthday, Carolyn! Did you have a cake? Tell! Since the sugar rush is about to end, stay tuned for a New Year’s ham and cheese biscuit recipe – MMMMM! :) PJH

    Reply
  8. Karen

    Help!!! I’m in love with the white casserole dish that you’ve baked this bread in, but can’t seem to locate it on your website or in the latest catalog I’ve received. Do you still carry it? If so, what is the item number so I can purchase one for myself?

    Sorry, Karen – that dish proved very popular, and sold out within an hour or so of this post… :( PJH

    Reply
  9. MaryL

    Would this be ok bake, cool and freeze? I am thinking of making this for a gift package for my brothers. Thanks, Mary” Hi Mary! Yes, you may freeze the completely cooled bread.

    Reply
  10. Kerry

    Can i use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour?

    Sure, Kerry – you’ll get a very different result, so be prepared. The bread won’t rise as much, will taste stronger of wheat, and may be a bit drier. If you use white whole wheat, the changes will be less pronounced. And if you go half ww, half AP, the changes should be quite minimal. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  11. cartvl219

    No, PJ, I didn’t have a cake. My housemate is a cat and she doesn’t like people food. Or, I should say, she’s not interested in people food. (Had a Siamese that would taste anything on the end of a finger – except toothpaste. She loved my coffee and wine! Always had her nose in the mug or glass.) But this girl’s not interested. I do have a cake recipe for an 8-layer torte with chocolate icing that my mother made for me. She always made sure that my birthday was totally independent of Christmas. I have thought of sending the recipe to Susan Reid, not that I think it needs any tweaking, but she or others of you there might be interested. As far as I know it dates from the late forties. At least that’s when Mother first made it.
    Carolyn

    Carolyn, I’ll bet Susan would love to see that recipe – as would I. We’re both very interested in recipes from the ’30s-’60s… Sounds delicious! PJH

    Reply
  12. sherylm

    We made this over the Christmas holiday and my entire family went wild for it! Love the flavors and the versatility to personalize the ingredients to taste. We did sun-dried tomatoes, basil and feta cheese and it was fantastic! A definite staple around our house on soup night. Thanks KA!

    Thanks for sharing your results here, Sheryl – PJH

    Reply
  13. sne

    hi, what can i use in place of pizza seasoning if i don’t have it – dehydrated onion/garlic (that looks prominent in the ingredient list for your pizza seasoning – it doesn’t burn?) or italian seasoning…or? can you tell me what besides dehydrated onion/garlic is in the pizza seasoning?
    the bread looks really pretty!
    thanks
    Yes, use some mixture of Italian seasoning, plus salt and granulated onion/garlic. Try oregano, basil and the like. Elisabeth

    Reply
  14. wildjoy

    I think I made this last year for Christmas, and it was delicious. This year though, I think I’d prefer a scone consistancy, not to mention then I could pop out individual servings and not have to deal with cutting slices… How could I adapt the recipe to make scones with cheese, scallions, and roasted red peppers?
    You might want to try our recipe for Bacon-Cheddar-Chive Scones, using the base scone dough, then swap out the seasonings and add ins with the ones from the Christmas Cheese Bread. Give us a call on the Baker’s Hotline if you have questions! ~Mel

    Reply
  15. ssuch535558

    OMG! I know what I am making for Christmas presents instead of pies! This looks just yummy and I think any leftovers would make great croutons. Beer bread croutons are so yummy so I think these would be, too.

    I’m betting you’re right – people will love this under the tree. Go for it! PJH

    Reply
  16. Danyol14

    This looks incredible! Could one bake this in a skillet? I think that would make for an amazing presentation.
    Sure! Cast iron skillets are great vessels for baking! ~Amy

    Reply
  17. The Baker's Hotline

    Hmm, this recipe does call for a 9 inch round pan. I would fear that it may be a little too much batter for the bake and give. I would bake one batch to see how it turns out before gifting! Jon@KAF

    Reply
  18. erolb1

    This is a holiday favorite of mine, but I’ve been using the older recipe that lacks the butter and has some other changes. In particular, it calls for forming a log and baking it on a sheet of parchament. But the dough was always sticky and difficult to deal with.

    I wanted to check if the dough is meant to be that sticky or stiff-batter-like, and from this blog entry it looks like the answer is “yes.” So next time I guess I’ll try putting it in a pan, rather than on a baking sheet. Or could I add more flour to make a stiffer dough?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Adding extra flour might make the bread dry; I would try it in a pan instead. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  19. Christine Kuret

    Well you are truly amazing. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes and good humor. Both of which are greatly appreciated, especially at this time of the year. You and King Arthur Flour are my “go to” survival guide. Thanks for all of the delicious aromas that you have helped to create in our home! Happy holidays.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      And very happy holidays to you too, Christine. We love being able to share the joy of baking with so many people, especially at this time of the year. Thanks for your kind words! PJH

  20. barbara lauterbach

    OK girlfriend, you have once again solved a problem! Have coffee hour duty at church 12/21, and this will be delicious and timely!
    Ciao Bella,
    Barbara

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Ciao, Barbara – vi innamorerete di questo pane! I love serving something savory at what might otherwise be a sweet-fest. Best part about it? So quick & easy. Enjoy – :) PJH

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