This super easy and delicious recipe is very versatile! Plain soft bread, cheese bread, or even pizza dough! So many possibilities to mix it up this Artisan bread with just one basic recipe! Read through to see my variations and tips. Even kids can join in and play with the dough.
I decided I wanted to amp up this recipe and make it even more creative and awesome! I had recently made cinnamon rolls and decided I'd try that technique with this bread recipe. I rolled out the dough just like you do cinnamon rolls, sprinkled in cheese, and then rolled it up. I pinched the ends and then folded them under. Then topped with with more cheese and let me tell you, YUM!! Not only does it look awesome and impressive, it tastes great!
If you decide you do not want to do the swirl then no problem! Just shape the dough into your desired shape. You can do a circle, an oval or get creative! This is the fun part for kids. You can make as many loaves as you want. The baking time will vary depending on size.
Some ideas for you to mix it up!
Jalapeno & Cheddar: Use fresh or diced from a jar (that's what I used, super easy!) Just sprinkle into dough or make it a swirl bread. Use whatever amount makes you happy. I like spicy so I put a lot!
Mozzarella, Garlic, & Italian herbs: A great addition to an Italian salad! You can top the dough with these ingredients or do a swirl like I did. Either way, its delicious! You can use fresh or prepacked for any of these ingredients. Whatever works for you!
Herbs: Use fresh or dried; Italian herbs, basil, rosemary, chives, etc.
Onion: Saute some onion (in olive oil, with black pepper and garlic powder) then place on top of dough, and sprinkle desired cheese on top and bake!
Tomato: Slice tomatoes and place on top before cheese
Pepperoni: Place slices of pepperoni (or cut up if desired) on top of dough before cheese.
Sea salt: Sprinkle some sea salt on before baking for a salty finish.
Black Pepper: Add some freshly cracked black pepper to spice things up.
Combination: Combine any cheese and/or topping for your desired flavor and unique combination. After all you're the one eating it!
Pizza Dough: substitute the butter for Olive Oil (dough will be stickier with this substitute so you might not need the extra water). Let dough rise 1 hour before shaping. Shape, dock (make holes or impressions to alleviate bubbles), brush edges with olive oil, top with sauce and desired ingredients, then bake at 450F for about 15 minutes. (I bake on the lower rack because that is where my heat element is, to get a better crisp to the crust) I sometimes use corn meal on the pan before placing the dough, for better nonstick and crisp crust. This is not necessary if you don't like corn meal. Note: the entire recipe will make one large pizza. I use this recipe all the time since my husband's favorite food is pizza. Easy and delicious! I sometimes add herbs and garlic to the dough or on top before the other ingredients. Also, I sprinkle Parmesan on the crust before baking.
Garlic bread/knots: Make the dough like the pizza dough recipe above but shape the dough into strips for bread or shape into knots. Brush with olive oil or butter and sprinkle herbs and garlic powder/salt on top then bake.
Artisan bread slices: While this bread is already considered Artisan (yes, how fancy?!), you can elevate it even more! Slice up the baked bread, whichever flavor(s) you like. Then place on a parchment lined sheet pan, brush with olive oil or butter, then top with additional ingredients. You can do herbs, more cheese, fancier cheeses like blue cheese, sea salt, etc. Then bake (350F) until crisp and cheese has melted (about 5-10 minutes depending on your oven). Place in a bread basket or fancy bowl for your dinner party and guests can ogle over your fancy and yummy creation. Mix it up by doing different variations for more options for your guests.
TIPS & TRICKS
If the dough is STICKY: You put too much water. That's ok! Just add a little bit of flour at a time until to comes together nicely.
Warming the water: You do not need to warm the water too much. You just need it warm enough to activate the yeast. I just heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds and it usually is around 110F, perfect. If it hits 120F+ then just drop an ice cube in it to quickly bring the temperature down. Or better yet just dump it and do it again.
Type of water: So there is theory out there that the type of water you use in recipes, especially if you're doing pizza dough, matters. While the easiest thing to do is use your sink water, the elements in water do make a difference. I use my filtered water, but bottled water works very well too! This is not necessary, but it will make a slight difference to those that have a refined palate.
Bread flour vs All purpose flour: You can use all purpose flour for this recipe if that is all you have, so no worries. However, bread flour will give you a better texture, and the dough will come together better/easier. Bread flour has more gluten in it so when you're mixing it, the gluten develops. More gluten= more texture. Just don't get too excited and over mix.
No mixer?: If you don't have a stand mixer, that's okay. You can make this by hand by kneading on a floured surface for about the same amount of time. Knead until dough forms and no longer sticky (5-10 minutes). Sprinkle flour on your hands for easier kneading and try not to use more than another 3/4 cup flour. You probably won't need the extra water if you're doing it by hand.
No parchment? You can use foil and/or pan spray. You can even use (even with the parchment) corn meal. Corn meal gives the bottom a nice texture as well as less stick to the pan! I suggest corn meal over foil as I have not made it on foil before.
Egg wash vs Olive Oil: Egg wash will give you a nice brown color you typically see bread as. However olive oil is a great alternative, but it will not give you a deep brown color, it will stay pale. Which might be perfect if you're baking it for your kids who don't like "crust" or "brown bread." If you do not brush your dough before baking it will come out dull and pale.
Final touch!: Brush baked bread with olive oil and sprinkle freshly cut parsley on top for a beautiful shine and elegant finish.
Easy Cheesy Bread Recipe
Yield: 2 loaves
Water 1/2-3/4 cup
Yeast (active dry) 2 tsp
Sugar 1 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 1/2 tsp
Butter-softened 2 TBSP
Bread Flour 2 cups
Cheddar cheese 2 cups
Warm water to about 110F (Range 100-115F, do not exceed 120F).
Pour about 1/2 cup water in a standing mixer. Sprinkle in the yeast and sugar. Let dissolve and bloom for 5 minutes.
Add in the salt, butter, and flour and using a dough hook mix for about 3 minutes or until it comes together. Add additional water if necessary. Once it starts to form a ball, turn up speed to med-high and let mix for 5 minutes. (See notes above)
Once dough has mixed, it should not be sticky. (See notes above if it is) Shape into desired shape. (If rolling for cheese swirl, do it now). Place onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Then cover with plastic wrap and/or damp towel. Let rise while oven preheats. Set oven to 375F.
Brush bread with egg wash then top with cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Egg wash= 1 egg plus 1 TBSP water (or a splash) whisked. If you do not have an egg or wish not to use one, you can use olive oil (see note above)
See notes above for variations
See notes above for tips and tricks