This bread is too fun! And it tastes great. I was a little worried about dumping the yeast into the flour instead of mixing it with the wet ingredients to foam like I did making pizza but everything turned out fine. Did I mention that it’s fun? Every foodie should pull apart bread at least once in his/her life.
The original recipe doesn’t use thyme, that was just something I threw in because I wanted something cheesy and herby. There’s a link to a tutorial video in the post which sadly doesn’t work but no worries, it’s easy enough to make.
To make cheesy thyme pull apart bread, you’ll need:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (separate 1/2 cup and set aside) plus extra for dusting
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
2 1/4 t active dry yeast
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup butter, melted or softened (yes, that’s another 1/4 cup)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
about 1 T fresh thyme
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Stir to mix well.
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the milk and 1/4 cup butter until the butter is melted. When done, remove the saucepan from the stove and add water.
3. Add the butter mixture into the mixing bowl with dry ingredients. Mix well. It will look dry but it’s OK coz we still got eggs! Make sure they’re at room temperature and add them in one at a time, mixing as you go.
4. Add in the grated cheddar cheese. From here, I started mixing and kneading with my hand to get the cheese as evenly distributed as possible. Wet and sticky funz.
5. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and knead the dough until it comes together. Original recipe uses 3/4 cup but I found that 1/2 cup was enough. Anything more than that and I feared the dough might be too dry. You can feel this out for yourself, too.
6. Grease a large bowl with a bit of olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover with cling wrap and leave some place warm to rise for an hour.
7. An hour later, it should’ve at least doubled in size. Punch the dough. Punch it in the middle and around the sides until the dough is deflated.
8. Prepare the loaf pan by greasing with butter and lightly dusting with flour. Bring the dough to a floured rolling surface. Flour the dough and roll out into a large rectangle. I could only roll it out as big as my chopping board and when it was done, I found that it was a bit too thick. I quartered the dough and rolled out each one until they were thin enough for me. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle generously with grated cheddar cheese and some thyme.
9. Slice the dough horizontally. Stack the strips of dough and slice them again to make somewhat equal squares of dough. The idea is to slice them into squares that will fit into your loaf pan. They will most definitely not be perfect or equal but this actually makes for a more interesting look later.
10. Here’s an easy way to get the sliced dough into the loaf pan. Keep stacking!
11. When done, cover with cling wrap and let rise for another hour. It looks a little something like this after rising.
12. Sprinkle with more grated cheddar and thyme on top and bake in an oven preheated to 175 C/350 F for 20-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Mine were done in about 20 minutes.
I love this bread. It’s beautiful, fun and delicious especially when it’s fresh out of the oven. It has really nice texture, too – crusty outside and soft inside. You can enjoy as is or have it with your favorite jam. You can also make it with some other herb. Rosemary, oregano, parsley even or a combination should all work well. Roasted garlic. Ham. You can even make a sweet kind with some cinnamon sugar. The possibilities are as numerous as the layers!
Fun Food Fact: The inner part of the bread encased by the crust is called ‘crumb’.