Cheesy garlic pull-apart bread is one of those recipes that is worth mastering because there's so many ways to use it. Whether you use it alongside soup or pasta or as part of a buffet table, it looks great and is always popular. Plus there are loads of variations and different ways to add to it once you have mastered the basics.
Can I use prepared bread dough for this recipe?
You may also use store-bought prepared dough if that's what you prefer; simply form your balls of dough the size of a golf ball. You may either freeze them and follow the directions as written or seal them immediately after making the dough and allow it to rise for only 40 minutes or so.
What other ingredients can you add to the pull apart bread?
There's no shortage of things you can add or change with this bread, depending on what you are serving with it. Classic additions include diced olives, sun-dried tomatoes, or bacon. Pepperoni, salami, or other Italian sausages will also work well. For a more herby bread, add some pesto or enhance the flavor by using roasted garlic.
You can also mix up the different types of cheese and try things like feta cheese or even goat's cheese. Aim for cheeses that melt well when heated to get the cheesy effect. Finally, you could even add things like artichoke hearts to the bread.
What you need to make Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread
- Granulated sugar
- Active dry yeast
- Unsalted butter
- Large eggs
- Table salt
- All-purpose flour
- Unsalted butter
- Cloves garlic
- Kosher salt
- Shredded mozzarella
- Grated Parmesan
How to make the recipe
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the warmed milk, sugar, and yeast. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before stirring.
On low speed, add half of the flour and beat until combined. Add the butter and eggs, and beat until combined. Gradually add salt and the remaining 2 to 2 ¼ cups flour, beating until a soft dough forms. (Don't worry, the dough will be sticky.)
Add the dough to a greased bowl, turn to coat it then spray with cooking spray. Place the bowl somewhere warm and draft-free and cover it. Leave it until it doubles in size, usually around 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small dish, combine the butter, garlic, parsley, and salt. In another small dish, combine the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Punch the dough down and put it on a flour dusted surface then leave it to rest for around 10 minutes.
Roll the dough into a rectangle around 18x 16 inches in size and spread a thin layer of the butter mixture on the top. Sprinkle with the cheese mixture. Grab a knife or pizza wheel and slice the dough lengthwise into four equal strips.
Stack them one on top of the other then cut again to make 4x3 inch rectangles.
Add cooking spray to a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and prop it up with a book or other object to stop it from sitting flat on the counter. Stack the rectangles on their sides in the pan and loosely cover it somewhere warm and draft free until it doubles in size. This usually takes 30-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Pour melted butter over the top of the bread. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown, covering with foil halfway through if necessary to prevent excessive browning. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before inverting it onto a serving platter. To serve, turn right-side up again.
Storing the recipe
To make ahead, use softened butter rather than melted butter, add garlic, salt and parsley, then spread into the cracks. Cheese can be added before or after wrapping. To cook, thaw then bake as directed in the recipe. Usually, a few minutes in the microwave is all that's required to reheat it.
Follow the recipe then wrap it in foil and leave it to cool. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days then just microwave it to reheat.
To freeze pull apart bread, then follow the recipe. Once it's cooled completely, wrap in foil then place in a freezer-safe bag. It will keep for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw then bake as directed in the recipe.
To reheat frozen garlic bread, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place garlic bread on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes.
If your milk doesn't foam and your yeast is still good, it's possible that the milk isn't ultra-pasteurized — start over but this time heat the milk to just under boiling to scald it, then cool it down to lukewarm before continuing. Supposedly, this denatures any proteins that might be preventing the yeast from rising.
Not measuring the flour by weight is a common mistake but not everyone has the equipment, so fluff it before scooping to get the most accurate measurement if you aren't using scales. I usually spoon flour into a cup and then level it that way.
When you let the dough rise overnight, make sure to leave a little space between the top of the dough and the top of the bowl. This can produce gas and an alcohol-like odor if you fully seal the container. I usually wrap it in plastic wrap first then a tea towel for additional protection.
Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 envelope active dry yeast 2 teaspoons
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted, plus more for drizzling, (½ stick)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened (½ stick)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
- With mixer on low speed, beat in 1 cup of the flour just until combined. Add the melted butter and eggs and beat until combined. Gradually add salt and remaining 2 to 2 ¼ cups flour, beating until a soft dough forms. (Dough will be sticky.)
- Put the dough into a large greased bowl, turning to coat. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Loosely cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, get the filling ready. In a small bowl, mix the butter, garlic, parsley and salt. In another small bowl, mix together the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- Punch down the dough, turn it out onto a flour-dusted surface and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Roll dough into an 18x16-inch rectangle. Spread a thin layer of the butter mixture over the dough and sprinkle with cheese mixture. Using a knife or pizza wheel, slice dough lengthwise into 4 equal strips. Stack strips one on top of the other, and cut into 4x3-inch rectangles.
- Spray an 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, and prop pan at an angle on a book or other object so pan is not flat. Stack rectangles on their sides in prepared pan. Loosely cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Drizzle melted. butter on top of loaf, and bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes, covering with foil halfway through baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool for 20 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Turn right side up to serve.