Making the Greatest Bread I’ve Ever Made

I was looking for something to accompany the salad I was making for dinner, and I stumbled upon Half Baked Harvest’s “Soft Garlic Herb Cheddar Cheese Bread”. Savory bread?! I could definitely do that. I prefer baking over cooking, anyway, so this recipe seemed like the perfect thing to make.

I had to gather some ingredients, though.

Ingredients laid out on the counter. There's Sargento shredded whole milk mozzarella, Frederik's grated parmesan cheese, Kerrygold aged cheddar, three brown eggs, a package of active dry yeast, whole milk, all purpose flour, honey, sage, oregano, and thyme.

Athena ScalziI had to buy all three cheeses for this bread, as well as all three herbs. I had the other ingredients on hand. The herb packages were two dollars each. I would’ve just bought regular but they only had organic in stock. As for the cheese, the recipe calls for mozzarella, parmesan, and cheddar, so you can pick whatever brands you like or whatever type of cheddar you want. I went with Kerrygold aged cheddar (which I didn’t know was a thing until now) because I absolutely love their butter, and each block was a little over five dollars.

The parmesan was just something I grabbed because it was grated, I didn’t really care about the brand for that one, and it was also over five dollars. As for the mozzarella, it called for shredded but I don’t like pre-shredded mozzarella (or really any pre-shredded cheese in a bag), but I managed to find whole milk shredded mozzarella, so I picked that. I don’t like when mozzarella is made with skim-milk. Anyways, it was less than four dollars. So it probably cost me about thirty dollars to make this bread.

Also, not pictured in the ingredients is two cloves of garlic, because I forgot that it was in the recipe until it came time to add it.

Moving on, the first thing I did was add the yeast to warm milk with honey, and let it sit for five minutes.

A beige milky mixture at the bottom of the silver stand mixer bowl.

The recipe said it should look bubbly on top, but it didn’t really look super bubbly to me. I went ahead and added the eggs and flour anyway, and got this insanely sticky dough.

A ball of sticky light beige dough sitting at the bottom of the silver stand mixer bowl.

It was totally unworkable, it was so sticky. The recipe said if it was too sticky you can add more flour a half cup at a time, so I went ahead and added half a cup.

The ball of dough wrapped around the dough hook of the stand mixer. Literally all of the dough is just sticking to the hook.

It was still super sticky! So I dumped in another half cup of flour.

A less sticky, smoother ball of dough sitting at the bottom of the silver stand mixer.

Finally, I got a semi-smooth ball of dough. It was still kind of sticky, but not unworkable, at least. I knew I’d have to flour the heck out of my surface when it came time to roll it out, though.

So, it was time to let it sit for an hour. But it ended up being two hours because I took my grandma dinner. Ah, well, better over than under probably, right?

And rise it did!

A huge smooth mound of dough in the silver mixing bowl.

The recipe says to punch the dough down, so I did:

The dough with a fist imprint in it. I punched the hell out of it.

And to roll the dough out into a 12 by 18 rectangle, but the dough was so elastic-y and did not want to roll out the way I wanted it to. It was fighting me. So I just did my best and let it be, really. I ended up with like a 14 by 14 square.

For the filling, I shredded the cheddar and mixed all the cheese together, then grated the garlic cloves into the mix. Then I PAINSTAKINGLY tore off thyme, oregano, and sage leaves. Enough to fill a third of a cup. DO YOU KNOW HOW SMALL THYME LEAVES ARE. I absolutely hate making anything that calls for thyme, it is my LEAST FAVORITE ACTIVITY.

(Also I did add a few leaves of basil, but they were from my sad little plant in the windowsill.)

Anyways, after like twenty fucking minutes, I finally threw the herbs into the mix and got this:

A bowl of shredded cheeses and herbs. It's mostly white and green and in a glass bowl.

So I sprinkled that bitch on the dough:

The rounded square of dough covered in the cheesy herb mixture. It looks like an unbaked pizza.

Now came the hard part. First, I rolled it up into a log. Then, I cut that log in half lengthwise. Weird, I know, but it gets weirder! You have to turn the halves outward, and then twist them over each other again and again until you end up with a long, twisted rope of cheesy bread. And then coil the long twist into a circle! It was messy, to be certain.

A big ball of dough totally covered in herbs and cheese.

And then I popped that bad boy in the oven, and thirty minutes later I had this:

The fully baked cheesy herb bread, in all its golden brown melty cheesy glory.

Lord have mercy. That was one hell of a glow-up.

Let me just say, this shit was BANGIN’. Suddenly all the money and effort was worth it. I would, and will, make it again. And probably again. And even again after that because wow. But don’t just take my word for it, my parents said it was super good, too! And we all ate way too much of it in too short an amount of time.

So, yeah, if you are a cheesy bread fan, you need this recipe in your life. If you are having friends over and want to impress them with minimal effort, make this bread. Or if you want to eat an entire loaf of cheesy bread by yourself, live your truth, and make this bread. I really can’t stress enough how tasty this is.

Would you give it a try? What cheese blend would you go for? What would you serve with this bread? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!

(Also, I replied to some comments on my last post! Make sure you check to see if I replied to you.)


31 Comments on “Making the Greatest Bread I’ve Ever Made”

  1. Yes, I do know how small thyme leaves are. Good on you for persevering. The result does look wonderful.

  2. Wow, you are brave indeed to tackle another yeast bread! Those are really tough to master, but the more you practice, the better you get, so you are on the right path. Sounds like your folks don’t mind you practicing, at least! And how awesome that it came out as well as it did, too! I love when that happens; just makes it worth all the hassle.

    I hear you on the tedious nature of prepping fresh herbs. I’ve been known to just use a thumbnail to scrape down a stem of thyme to pull the tiny leaves off that way, but then I’m an impatient old curmudgeon.

    One of my favorite cheeses for bread-baking is feta, because it doesn’t leak a lot of liquid and make the dough watery, plus I just really like the flavor of feta cheese. Back in the summer when you made that amazing blueberry cream cheese star bread, someone posted a link in the comments to a savory bread recipe that used salami and Parmesan cheese. I made that up recently using feta cheese and black olives instead of the salami and Parm, and it was absolutely wonderful.

    I did see that you went back and commented on your cookie post! I was really pleased to see that, because you’ve mentioned in the past that you struggle with commenting on your posts even when you want to say something – good on you for overcoming your anxiety and joining the conversation!

    Thanks for starting my Saturday off with a baking post, Athena!

  3. A tip on thyme: If you pick up a single sprig, you can run your fingers down it backwards and the individual leaves will pull off that way more quickly. This recipe looks delicious and I enjoyed this way more than I ever enjoy cooking blogs.

  4. Looks awesome! I’m going to have to look up that recipe, you might consider editing your post to link it.

    I’d love to know what your total time was, aside from taking your gran out to dinner. :-)

  5. I would definitely make this! I love a good, cheesy bread. As for cheese, I would probably be inclined to swap out the mozzarella for gruyere. You get the stretchy goodness that mozz brings but with more flavor. Or, depending on what I was serving it with, mozz, a good sharp cheddar, and pepper Jack.

  6. That looks fabulous! Coincidentally, I just picked up Half Baked Harvest: Every Day from the library. It’s now become urgent to review this baby.

  7. Athena, I laughed out loud at the herb section! I too, don’t enjoy cooking as much as baking. This bread looks delicious and I will be trying it soon. Thx for your amusing cooking reviews!

  8. Lol. An article on making a recipe that actually has an emotional journey for the protagonist. You got some laughs out of me with this one.

    Seems like a standard day, but then the quest of needing something for the salad comes up. You find the map/recipe and needed quest items, the ingredients. A few bumps along the way, sticky dough, tracking down garlic… The bread rises up, you punch it! (Love the pic.)

    Now it gets fun. Tearing off the leaves. Your mood is now, “twenty fucking minutes…” You don’t add the herbs, you “throw” them in. I pictured you very irked at this moment. Oh, but you are still ticked off, “I sprinkled that bitch on the dough.”

    The final photo honestly looks amazing. If it tastes as good as it looks, well then you were spot on with, “this shit was BANGIN!” Ahh, Athena won this battle and was a bit surprised. That’s good, the win shouldn’t be expected. And the “effort was worth it.” I think they felt the same after tossing that ring into the oven, err, I mean the fires of Mount Doom.

    All joking aside (and really that’s the only value I add) this looked wonderful, thanks for sharing. And your write up was snappy and fun to read. I’m glad you wrote it up as you still felt how you were feeling at the time. (Or seemed to.) That added a nice punch (ha) to the writing.

  9. Beautiful. The last time I baked bread was never, but I would totally eat this. It looks great. Nice job.

  10. This post was fun to read, and wow, that bread sounds amazing! I have never successfully made bread that required yeast (tried once and it was a miserable flop) but I might have to try again and make this.

    (Wayne, the recipe was linked in the post when I read it just now).

  11. I second the suggestion above about the thyme.

    Just pull the stem through your fingers, holding it at the top and sliding it – the leaves will all just pop off. Works for things like rosemary, tarragon, and oregano, too. You still have to corral it somewhere as it pops off, but you don’t have to pick each one off individually.

  12. The secret to rolling our dough is to do it in stages; roll it out as far as it will go easily, go prepare your filling, roll the dough out some more. I find two rolls and one wait usually works, but sometimes you need three rolls and two waits.

    The sort of technical stuff – when you roll out a bread dough you are stretching the gluten, which will only stretch so far in one go. If you let the gluten relax for a while it will then stretch further.

  13. That’sa some good looking cheesy bread, for sure!

    I find that a big french knife on a cutting board can reduce herbs and garlic into tiny fragments in no time. I use the side of the blade and pound the garlic before mincing, and if it calls for 2 cloves, use all the cloves, 2 is never enough…

    Congratulations on a great effort!!

  14. Another thyme suggestion: there’s a spice called ajwain, related to caraway, that tastes very similar to thyme (same main flavour compound) but it’s seeds*, like caraway, so it’s no effort and it keeps. Middle Eastern or south Asian stores might have it (or the internet)

    Technically, as with caraway, the seeds are fruits rather than seeds, but only a botanist would care

  15. 1) Thanks for reminding me I needed to add mozzarella to my shopping list.
    2) Since you bake and cook consistently, consider investing in herb scissors – they are funky multi-bladed scissor that are useful for chopping and leaf stripping all kinds of fresh herbs.

  16. That looks amazing and based on the ingredients I’m pretty sure it’s delicious.

    My father has a little plastic disc with holes of different sizes. You pull the stems of herbs through it and it strips off the leaves. That would probably save some time with thyme.

  17. Love that photo of the dough with your fist imprinted on it. You really showed that bread who’s boss!

    It looks a amazing. I’ve made cheese bread a few times, but it was never quite cheesy enough. I think this version just might hit the spot.

  18. Also, wet doughs can be a pain to work with, but sometimes they bake up really fluffy and tender. If I had to roll out a sticky bread type dough I might put it between two oiled sheets of foil and roll it that way.

  19. I commented earlier but I guess the troll filter ate my words – the TL;DR version is that your bread looks gorgeous and I am super-impressed with your persistence in making yeast breads! That is not an easy skill to master, but it looks like you are totally killing it.

    Also, I did notice your comment on your post about the cookies, and I was excited to see it since you’ve mentioned before that it can be difficult to comment on your own posts. Thank you for joining the conversation, Athena, and I am looking forward to your next post here!

  20. That bread turned out gorgeous!

    Cheesy bread used to be one of my faves!
    (dietary restrictions suck)

    If you haven’t tried it yet, waffles with bacon bits and cheddar cheese is pretty dang good too.

    As for fresh herbs, for rosemary and thyme and the like I’ll often grab the top of the twig and then just run my fingers down the length of the twig.

    My wife bought me these things from Amazon, they work pretty well and if you have a or if herbs to pull off it cut this set will save you some time. Can’t have enough kitchen gadgets!

    Herb Scissors Leaf Herb Stripper via Amazon:

  21. It turned out beautifully! I bet it tasted amazing. Had to laugh at your cheeses being around five dollars each because I bought feta for a salad yesterday and it cost … a little over five dollars. I guess that’s the price of cheese now?

  22. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments, I enjoyed reading them all! You all put a smile on my face :)

    @ Wayne, I always include the recipe at the beginning of these types of posts, in this case it was in the first paragraph! As for total time, not including the extra hour for my grandma, I’d say about three hours since it has to rise for an hour and then bake for thirty minutes.

    @ Jazzlet, thanks for the gluten tip! I always find yeast breads tricky.

    @ Thomas Lumley, I’ve never heard of that! Thanks for recommending it.

    @ ennKay, falcon PUUNNNCHH!

    @ Colonel Snuggledorf, sorry to hear about your first comment not showing up, I’m actually not sure what happened there? And thank you so much, yeast breads are definitely a beast I am trying to tame! And thank you for noticing that I’m trying to reply to y’all. Y’all’s readership means everything to me so the fact I never reply is kinda whack.

    @ Michelle, for cheese lovers such as myself, it’s hard to resist despite the price.

  23. You probably get lot’s of suggestions so I doubt this is helpful, but I recommend Anadama rolls or bread. Pretty easy to make. Despite use of molasses, it’s not overly sweet.

    I recommend it it because if you like it you might want to make it again around thanksgiving (goes well with that meal, also pretty well with breakfast.

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