Cheddar Cheese Pull-Apart Bread

Monkey bread, bubble bread, pull-apart loaf... This yeast bread "concept" has been around for decades. While cinnamon-sugar, caramel, or other sweet versions are the norm, this savory takeoff relies on cheddar cheese powder and herbs for its delightful flavor.

Prep
20 mins
Bake
30 to 40 mins
Total
2 hrs 50 mins
Yield
one 9" round pull-apart loaf
Cheddar Cheese Pull-Apart Bread

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, and mix and knead — using your hands, a stand mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.

  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased container — an 8-cup measure works well here — and allow the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it's just about doubled in bulk.

  3. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.

  4. Divide the dough into 32 pieces, by dividing in half, then in halves again, etc. Don't worry about making them exactly even; and don't bother to shape them into balls, unless you're totally into perfection. For the shape in the photo, divide the dough into 16 pieces, then roll into 4" to 5" diameter rounds.

  5. Lightly grease a 9" deep casserole dish, a 9" x 2" cake pan, or an 8 1/2" x 4" loaf pan. Pour a generous layer of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, to coat.

  6. Make the coating: whisk together the cheese powder, cornstarch, and Pizza Seasoning. Put the melted butter in a small bowl. Dip each ball in the butter, then the coating, then place in the pan in a single layer; you'll need to squeeze them in. For the shape in the photo, brush the rounds with butter, then sprinkle with coating mixture. Fold the rounds in half, butter the top, and place in the prepared loaf pan, rounded edge up.

  7. Cover the pan, and allow the dough to rise till quite puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  8. Uncover the pan. Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Tent with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 20 minutes, until it's golden brown when you peek underneath the foil. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the center bun should register 190°F, or very close to it.

  9. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm.

Tips from our Bakers

  • If you object to the bread having a very dark-brown bottom, dip the dough balls in butter, then coat only their tops/middles with the cheese powder, leaving the bottoms bare.