Saturday, January 26, 2013

Herb & Cheese Pull-apart Bread Loaf

The other day, when I bumped into Divya's latest blog post on a gorgeous pull-apart bread, I was just awed and admired the pictures for a couple of minutes. My love affair with yeast i no secret, hence I sooo wanted to bake that soon! As I read through her post, I got to know this is hosted by Aparna from My Diverse Kitchen and my desire to bake this eye-catching bread only grew leaps and bounds as I saw the array of yummilicious pull-apart bread that the members have put up there. Oh my! Such pretty breads!

I wrote in to her the same night and keeping my fingers crossed, asked if I was too late to join and to my delight, she kindly accepted me into the group! Yay... now I not only get to admire the goodies that these talented bakers showcase, I also get to bake with them! :) This is such a novel initiative made by Aparna, of baking an amazing bread a month starting with this intriguing pull-apart bread... oh my, cant wait for the other 11! :) I simply love that name that she has given the group - 'We Knead to Bake!' :)

I promised her I would submit in my entry at the earliest, hence I cancelled our Saturday morning plans to go out and baked this instead. Well, the all is well that ends the husband absolutely LOVED the bread, so it was a Saturday morning well spent :) Here goes my version of the Herb-Cheese Pull-apart Bread Loaf. Yes, its slightly extra brown on top (I am still figuring out the perfect timing/temperature that works perfect for my microwave as the top gets browned faster than the rest of the item), but the taste was super and as soft as bakery bread! I loved this recipe and the baking technique... I am sure to re-create this with variety of fillings and spreads :)


For the Dough:
Warm Milk - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 tsp
Instant yeast - 2.5 tsp
All-purpose flour - 2 3/4 to 3 cups 
Salt - 1 tsp
Butter - 25gm soft, at room temperature
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Milk - 3/4 cup (+ a couple of tbsp to brush over the bread)

For the Filling:

Butter - 15 to 20gm melted
Mixed Herbs - 2-3 tsp
Red chilli flakes - to taste
Cheese - 1/2 cup grated


  • In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up.
  • Put 2 3/4 cup of flour, salt, softened butter, and garlic paste in the food processor bowl (or a large bowl) and pulse a couple of times to mix. Then add the yeast mixture and the 3/4 cup of milk and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky. Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking,but only just as much as is necessary.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until almost double in volume.
  • Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger square that is about 12’ by 12”. Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter.
  • Evenly sprinkle the herbs, chilli flakes and then the grated cheese. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.
  • Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips.
  • You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater. Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut straight down through the stack dividing it into 6 equal pieces (6 square stacks).
  • Grease and lightly flour a 9” by 5 loaf tin. Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin.
  • Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf.
  • Bake the dough at 180 C (350F) for about 20-30 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown. See tips.  
  • Take out the bread once done and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before you transfer it out of the loaf tin.

  • Every microwave works differently. Adjust the time according to your microwave. Mine bakes real fast and I have a problem of the top getting crustier than the rest. So I baked for 7 minutes at 180 then reduced the temperature to 170, covered the bread with silver foil to avoid more browning of the top, and baked for another 5 minutes and it was done! So it is suggested, you keep a close watch on the bread after about 6 minutes. 
  • I got a loaf and a little extra dough which I baked in a medium sized round baking tin.
  • I usually mix water with yeast and sugar to make the yeast mixture and also add in water to the flour to make the dough. Adding in milk instead, gave me much softer bread.
  • You could make the same bread with wholewheat.


  1. Love to have you on board Nandita,bread baking is fun,more so when you have a lovely group of bread baking enthusiasts:)How about covering the top of the loaf pan with a foil when you feel the bread has browned enough?This will make sure the bread gets cooked on the inside without burning the top.

    1. Yeah Divya, I did cover it but I guess a minute too late! My microwave bakes like crazy, even an extra second matters to much! Was afraid of leaving it under baked if I covered it too soon. Anyway, my next bread will be better I hope! :)

  2. That is one beautifully done loaf. I am sure you enjoyed as much as we all did!Glad to see so many people want to join.

    1. Oh yes I did Lata... this is such a lovely group to bake along with :)

  3. looks so soft and im drooling but i doubt i can bake a bread for sometime with lil mr somebody on board!baking has to take a back seat i guess!

    1. Thanks Princy :) Just a few more months, then am sure you would be back at baking :) for now enjoy with your little mr someone :)

  4. Welcome to the club!! You made a gorgeous bread.

  5. mouthwatering presentation, so tempting!!!

  6. Oh this is so yumm and the brown top adds to the crunch!

  7. This looks yum! Just baked mine...The kitchen is smelling divine :)

  8. The bread looks yummy..and very nice clicks.. one can almost smell the herbs and feel the chilli flakes...!!

  9. gorgeous dear :) nice presentation too..

  10. yummy and so soft looking bread.. Love the herbs

  11. Delicious and soft looking bread..Covering with a foil should have helped reducing the darkening on top..

    1. Oh yes I did cover it with foil Reshmi, but a tab late I guess. My oven bakes real fast and even a few seconds matter! Next time will be more cautious :)

  12. this looks good.
    Loved all the pictures too.

  13. super soft and delicious looking bread....lovely presentation!

  14. Nandita love your Bread. So delicious love it.

  15. wow...perfect and delciicous bread...frst time ur wonderful site with great recipes..hapi to follow u..glad if u do d same

  16. That looks so the flavour too.....

  17. What an amazing loaf..How I loved baking this pull apart! Love your version Nandita, and so happy to see you in the club:):)

  18. YOur bread looks beautiful. Happy to have you bake with us.