Friday, May 13, 2022

Cheesy Pull-apart Bread from @MaddieDayAuthor

MADDIE here, doing some recipe testing for a book due June 1. Yes, dear readers, you are the beneficiaries!

I'm a long-time bread baker, ever since my college days, when my sister and friends and I all baked whole wheat bread, four loaves at a time, from the Tassajara Bread Book. But if you're not experienced with yeast and flour, fear not. This bread really is easy.

I'm polishing Murder at a Cape Bookstore, the fifth Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery, which is due June 1. In the book, Mac Almeida's new husband Tim bakes a pull-apart cheese bread to donate to the Free Dinner (think soup kitchen, Rev 2). 

Long ago, before I became a baker, I was an exchange student in southern Brazil. I have fond memories of accompany the mother of the family to the big central market. At the end of our shopping, she would buy a round loaf of cheese bread, still warm, and we'd eat it in the car. My future daughter-in-law mentioned last weekend that she remembers the same bread from her trip to Brazil.

I wanted this recipe to re-create that bread in my memory. These pull-apart rolls are delicious, but I didn't quite get the effect I'd wanted.  That's okay. I'll keep trying - more yummy bread for us!

Cheesy Bread


2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups flour (I used 1 cup white flour and the rest whole wheat, but you can use all white if you prefer)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon or 1 envelope yeast

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water

1/3 cup milk

1 cup shredded very sharp cheddar cheese

1 egg white, beaten with 1 tablespoon water


Grease a 9-inch cake pan and set aside.

Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in large mixer bowl. 

Heat water and milk until very warm (120° to 130°F - I used two minutes in the microwave). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Let sit for 10 minutes to let the yeast develop.

Add cheese and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough and incorporate with dough hook, if you have one.

Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Oil the bowl and set aside. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Return to bowl.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Turn out onto surface and form into a ball. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. 

Form each into a smooth ball, pulling all the cut edges into the middle. Pinch the connections.

Place each ball pinched-side down in the pan. Don’t worry if the rolls touch. 

Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes, preheat oven to 375°F. 

Brush rolls with egg-white mixture. 

Bake for 30 minutes until lightly brown. The rolls should sound hollow when you tap them. Remove from the oven and the pan. Cool on a wire rack.

Try to wait until cool before tearing apart or slicing, but it’s not a crime to eat one warm from the oven!

Note: I wanted this to be a cheesier bread, pulling apart and oozing cheese. I might double the cheese next time, or add a cup of mozzarella to complement the cheddar.

Enjoy with butter next to your eggs, with jam for afternoon tea, or to accompany a fish stew or chili for dinner.

Readers: What's your favorite kind of bread to eat or bake? 

My most recent release is Batter Off Dead, Country Store Mystery #10, out now!

My next release is Murder in a Cape Cottage, the fourth Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery.

We hope you'll visit Maddie and her Agatha Award-winning alter ego Edith Maxwell on our web site, sign up for our monthly newsletter, visit us on social media, and check our all our books and short stories.

Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell) is a talented amateur chef and holds a PhD in Linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-winning and bestselling author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau north of Boston, where she’s currently working on her next mystery when she isn’t cooking up something delectable in the kitchen.


  1. My favorite type of bread is sourdough.
    Kitten143 (at) Verizon (dot) net

  2. I love jalapeno cheese bread or Mexican corn bread. Both spicy and delicious!

  3. Can't think of a type of bread we don't like. Hot, fresh bread is one of my vices and I have to limit how often to have it or I'd not be able to walk through the door. :)

    Thank you for the wonderful sounding recipe that I will be making very soon!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. Beer bread became a staple when yeast was at a premium and it has found a favored place in my kitchen for a quick and easy answer to accompany soup, salad or stew dinners.

  5. It must be in the stars. I just took cheddar cheese bread out of the oven! (King Arthur recipe for Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese bread-minus the pickled jalapenos for me).
    The recipe calls for half of the cheese to be grated and half to be cubed. I tried that last time but decided to go with all grated this time. The combination of all purpose flour, durum flour, and a bit of cornmeal makes for a great bread. I make my breads with 1/2 milk and 1/2 water usually.

    1. The King Arthur recipe is about 1/2 cup cheese to 5 1/4 cups flours, so yours is cheesier (1 cup to 3 cups).

    2. Maybe I'll try cubed next time. Thanks, Libby!

    3. Be sure to dice them small or they will tear the gluten strands.

  6. We have a bakery that makes really good challah. I use it for French toast on Saturday morning

  7. Aaaaah...PAO DE of my favorite breads ever...I love to buy many at the first airport shop after you exit immigration wherever you arrive in Brazil! They are all gone in a flash, especially since they are small :-) My wife, who is the baker in our family commented that if you are to try again, she would recommend you try fresh Parmesan Cheese, since it is very strong and flavorful. Mind you, we have never tried to make it here in the US, especially since there is a lady from Brazil who used to make and sell a very similar pao de queijo near LA... that was a while ago before the pandemic... Hope you find the magic soon, but trying and trying sounds great, since as you say...more bread!!! Thanks, Maddie, for your recipe. We will try it...even I will try it and see what we get...should be most interesting!!!