This stuff is addictive. Soft, fluffy bread smothered in cheesy, garlicky goodness? Yes please! Just looking at these photos is making me drool a little…
Pull-apart breads are a great way to make something that looks impressive, but is actually incredibly simple to make. Bread dough is rolled out into a rectangle, covered with garlic butter and cheese, with some herbs thrown in for good measure, cut into slices, stacked, then cut into squares which are layered in a loaf pan. Stacking and slicing the dough like this results in a loaf which pulls apart easily and guarantees that every bite is full of flavour.
I served this bread with vegetable soup, with which it went perfectly, it is great to pull pieces off to dunk; but honestly, I could quite happily have just gone on a complete carb-fest and eaten the bread on its own, probably the whole loaf…it’s that good.
- 350g (3 cups) strong white bread flour
- 7g (2tsp) fast-action yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 60ml (1/4 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
- 130ml (1/2 cup + 1tbsp) lukewarm water
- 85g (1/3 cup) very soft butter
- 3-5 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 40g (1.5 oz) parmesan cheese, grated
- 100g (3.5 oz) mature cheddar cheese, grated
Start by making the dough, place the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, oil and milk in a large bowl, gradually add the water until it all comes together into a soft dough. You may not need to use all of the water or you may need a little more, the dough should be slightly sticky at first. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic then place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
While the dough is rising prepare the filling, place the butter in a bowl, crush the garlic cloves (use 3 for a mild garlic flavour, or more for a stronger one), stir the crushed garlic, parsley and oregano into the butter and add a little seasoning if the butter is unsalted. Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, about 30×40 cm; spread the garlic butter evenly over the surface and sprinkle over the parmesan and cheddar, press the cheese down slightly. Cut the rectangle lengthways into four strips, gently place the strips on top of each other, topping side up so that you end up with one strip with four layers, you will lose some cheese while moving the strips, just sprinkle it back over.
Cut the strip crosswise into four equal squares and stack them in the loaf tin, cut side up. There will be some extra space but the dough will grow and fill this when it proves.
loosely cover the tin with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 30-45 minutes until almost doubled in size. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. When the dough is risen, bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through, cover with a piece of tin foil if it starts to colour too quickly. Allow to cool slightly before serving.