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When I say “Cheesy Pull Apart Garlic Bread”, what I actually mean is SUPER GARLICKY bread because this tear and share loaf is ALL about the garlic. The glorious cheese pulls and pillowy soft bread are merely happy bonuses.
I’ve made this cheesy pull apart bread several times over the last few years for various events. It has never lasted for more than 10 minutes and I’ve had numerous requests to bake more. Sometimes I just get a message out of the blue!
I think that’s the sign of a pretty damn awesome recipe! Honestly, I can eat an entire loaf in one sitting if I don’t exercise serious self control!
Now I am well known for not being a fan of Mr Paul Hollywood. Mostly he burns everything as well as being a bit of a douche. But, I have to admit that his recipe for Savoury Chelsea Buns has been the basis of quite a number of my bakes over the years.
I once went the whole hog and put basically an entire Christmas dinner, gravy and all into one of those babies.
I’ve tweaked the method a bit. I like to add the yeast in warm water for a bit before adding to the flour etc. Life is simply too short to be faffing around with super long proves.
Truly though, be warned, when I say super garlicky, I mean it. Its garlic-tastic. And then some. And then a bit more.
Make Cheesy Pull Apart Garlic Bread into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
Don’t forget to head over to the Big Americana Feast post for all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my other feast collections and all my Americana inspired recipes.
Ingredients for Cheesy Pull Apart Garlic Bread
Please don’t be tempted to use fresh mozzarella cheese here, it’ll be far too wet, as would cream cheese or any other soft cheese like brie.
The pre grated stuff has all the joy and stringy-ness of mozzarella but it’s quite dry. You could however use something stronger like cheddar or gouda but you will lose some of the gooey joy.
You can find more recipes featuring mozzarella in my collection of The Best Mozzarella Recipes.
I always talk about garlic paste in my recipes rather than garlic cloves. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly not all garlic cloves are made the same. I don’t think “a clove” is a good measure!.
There are two ways to end up with garlic paste. Either crush fresh cloves with a little salt using the flat of a big knife on a chopping board. Or, buy it in jars from the supermarket. Do note that I am talking about paste and not those tiny cubes of lazy garlic in oil. They smell funky to me and don’t have the right texture.
Make sure your yeast is in date. I do not advocate paying any attention to best before or use by dates as a general rule. But smelling yeast will not tell you if it is still alive.
So only use “in date” yeast. I actually write the date I bought a box of yeast on it before putting away so I can rotate properly.
You can use this basic dough recipe for a multitude of delights just like I have by reshaping the dough into Garlic Rolls. There a both sweet and savoury filling options like using nutella or even a well reduced version of my Peach and Ginger Compote.
Don’t like cheese? Leave it out.
Want to make it lower cal? This is not the recipe for you my friend. Sorry, not sorry.
Make it Vegetarian
Just make sure that the cheese you choose is suitable for vegetarians and you are good to go.
Make it Vegan
I am convinced that you can make this recipe vegan. But there are a lot of substitutions:
- Switch out the butter for vegan baking block.
- Use a vegan cheese – I hear they’re pretty good nowadays and you can even get mozzarella substitutes with a bit of that classic meltiness.
- Substitute each egg with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.
- Use a plant-based milk instead of regular milk.
Maybe that isn’t so difficult after all – try it! Let me know what you think!
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipes does not contain any nuts.
Dairy or Egg Free: As usual, I will refer you to the vegan substitutions to make these Garlic Rolls suitable for those with a dairy allergy. To suit an egg allergy, only the eggs need to be substituted. Obvs.
Wheat Free: I regularly make these super-soft buns using spelt flour for my friend who is unable to eat wheat. Be careful as spelt isn’t a suitable swap for all wheat allergies and it isn’t gluten free.
Gluten Free: For gluten free rolls, you will need to use a gluten free flour. Like vegan cheese, the number of varieties of gluten free flour you can now buy is quite impressive! The rice free flour from Free From Fairy is by far my favourite option.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Cheesy Pull Apart Garlic Bread
A Stand Mixer with a dough hook would be my first choice of appliance to help make me make bread dough. An electric hand mixer with dough hooks would be my second. My third choice would be elbow grease.
A dough scraper is a great tool to work with when dealing with dough. It can be used to scoop, cut and scrape any dough from flat surfaces. A great alternative to the metal type are these cheap flexible scrapers.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
Obviously you need to have a couple of hours spare before you want to eat my Pull Apart Garlic Bread and whilst it is good reheated, it is fabulous fresh out of the oven. So here is how I recommend getting ahead of time.
Make the recipe up to stage 10, but line the loaf tin with cling film before adding the dough squares. Once the tin is full, wrap the whole thing in cling film and put it straight into the freezer.
Once the dough is fully frozen, perhaps overnight, you can take it out of the pan, wrap fully in cling and foil and leave in the freezer for several weeks or so. Don’t forget to also freeze the set-aside garlic butter.
When you want to bake the loaf, take it out of the freezer, unwrap and place into the loaf tin which you have lined as usual. Cover the top with clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight to thaw. The second prove will happen at the same time. Once thawed and risen to fill the pan, bake as normal.
It would be a good idea to double or triple the recipe and freeze a few loaves. Batch cooking is my friend!
Leftover Cheesy Pull Apart Garlic Bread
Everytime I go to write this section of my posts, I just have a proper giggle to myself! I’ve never had enough of this loaf, never mind leftovers. But if self-control is your thing, then you can give a couple of slices a quick blast in the microwave to warm it through for a few days after baking.
After baking is another great point to freeze this recipe. Just portion up, freeze and reheat as normal.
Cheesy Pull Apart Garlic Bread Tips
The dough will be quite soft and sticky – this is a good thing!
Knead the dough on a floured surface but try not to add too much extra flour to the dough as this will dry it out. If it feels like its getting a bit dry, knead in a little more milk or water.
You can just leave the dough on the side in the kitchen to prove but it’ll take twice as long. An airing cupboard or similar is ideal but I don’t have one so I usually put one of my ovens onto a super low heat, pop the dough in and then turn the oven off. Just don’t keep opening the door to let the residual heat out.
If you use the microwave to soften the butter as I usually do (I’m not organised enough to take it out the fridge in advance), cut it into small squares first and spread them out on a plate. Blitz for no more than 5 seconds at a time. This way its more evenly softened rather than big block which will melt on the outside and stay solid in the middle.
I’m not sure that I have fully expressed how much this is one of my favourite recipes of all time but trust me, it truly is! Please do give it a go and I promise you’ll have friends for life. Despite the garlic breath!!!
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Cheesy Pull Apart Garlic Bread
- 90 ml Water
- 14 g Fast-Acting Dried Yeast
- 50 g Caster Sugar (Superfine Sugar)
- 500 g Strong White Flour (Bread Flour)
- 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
- 40 g Salted Butter
- 2 Eggs
- 140 ml Milk
- 250 g Salted Butter
- 3 tbsp Garlic Paste
- 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
- 150 g Grated Mozzarella
Make the Dough
- Add 90ml of fairly warm (not hot) Water to a small bowl and add 14g Fast-Acting Dried Yeast and 50g Caster Sugar. Whisk to combine a little (it won't combine properly) and set aside.
- Measure 500g Strong White Flour and 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Add 40g Salted Butter, 2 Eggs, the by now frothy yeast and water mix and 140ml Milk to the flour and stir until a dough is formed.
- Knead the dough until is it smooth and super stretchy – a good 10 minutes if kneading by hand, if not a bit longer. About 5 to 7 minutes if using an electric mixer.
- Leave the dough in a large covered bowl somewhere warm for about 1 hour to rise.
- The dough should roughly double in size.
Meanwhile make the Garlic/Cheese Butter:
- Take 250g Salted Butter which is room temperature or a little softer and mix in 3 tbsp Garlic Paste and 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes.
- Reserve about a 5th of the mixture and set aside.
- Stir 150g Grated Mozzarella into the remaining bulk of the garlic butter.
Construct the Loaf
- Once the dough has doubled, take off the covering and give the dough a good punch. You don’t actually need to be aggressive but these opportunities are rare so go for it.
- Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and give it a quick light knead. No need for electric power here.
- Cut the dough into 4 equal size pieces and place 3 back under a covering for the time being.
- Roll the fourth piece into a rectangle about 1/2 cm thick. It will fight back, keep going, it will roll out and stay eventually.
- Take 1/4 of the garlic and cheese mix and spread over the rectangle of dough. Try and make it a fairly evenly spread and go right to the edges.
- Using the sharpest knife you have, cut the square into 12 smaller squares (3 x 4). Stack the 12 squares one on top of the other.
- Take a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof liner and rest it upright on one end if you can.
- Take the stack of dough and place it into the loaf tin.
- Repeat the process with the other 3 sections of dough.
- The loaf tin should now be full to the top and can be put the right way up. Make the last square you put in the wrong way round so the cheese mix is facing inwards and not the outside edge of the tin.
- Lightly cover the tin and leave to rise, exactly the same as before for 1 hour. The dough should puff out and fit snugly in the tin.
- After 50 minutes, preheat the oven to 200c or equivalent.
- Pop the loaf tin in a larger roasting tin to catch any buttery drips
- Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until light golden brown.
- Smear the top of the dough with the reserved garlic butter and pop back in the oven for a minute or two until the butter has melted.
- Eat warm. Try not to eat it all. Sod it, eat it all. Have no fear of vampires for circa a week.