Wednesday Baking | Braided Cheese Bread

by Kristen on January 27, 2010 · 37 comments

in Wednesday Baking

Today’s offering is yet another recipe from my handy-dandy Fleischmann’s Yeast cookbook (their yeast is way too expensive, but their cookbook is great!). I’ve modified it a bit to fit my preferences, but the bones of the recipe are from Fleischmann’s.

Because 6 ounces of cheese is required for two medium-sized loaves, this is perhaps not the most frugal bread ever, but it is really tasty. Since the cheese is not standing on its own, I do not find it necessary to use really high dollar cheese (not that I really ever buy high dollar cheese), so this bread doesn’t have to be exorbitantly expensive. The $1.50 block of cheddar from Aldi works just fine.

And though the recipe calls for sharp cheddar, I’ve also had good success with mild cheddar cheese, and even Colby cheese. You could even combine the random bits of shreddable cheese hanging around your fridge and use them up in this loaf.

As with most of my recipes, this one starts with flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.

Add warm water and milk, and beat for several minutes.

Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft but manageable dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead in cheese, 1/2 cup or so at a time. By the time you get the cheese thoroughly incorporated, the dough should be sufficiently kneaded.

(Alternatively, you can stir the cheese into the dough before you turn it out onto the floured surface. This will break up the cheese a bit more, but it’s an awful lot easier.)

This dough feels really, really strange when you knead it, thanks to the cheese, and it looks kind of funny too.

Cover the dough and let it rise for about an hour, or until it’s doubled in size. After the dough has risen, punch it down, divide it into six pieces, and roll each piece into a 12-14 inch rope.

Braid three strands and place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining three strands.

Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.

If desired, sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

And here’s a peek inside the bread…you can see all the little flecks of cheese. It’s tasty as is, but the cheese flavor is especially good if you toast your slices before eating them. And toasted, buttered slices make a lovely accompaniment to a pot of homemade soup.

Printable Cheese Bread Recipe

Braided Cheese Bread-makes 2 loaves

3.5 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese

In mixer bowl, combine 1.5 cups flour with the sugar, yeast, and salt. Heat water and milk to 120 degrees F, and add to dry ingredients. Beat for 3 minutes, and add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead in cheese, 1/2 cup at a time. Place kneaded dough into a bowl, cover with a wet tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled.

Punch dough down and divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-14 inch rope. Braid three ropes together and place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining three ropes. Cover braids and let rise until doubled, 30-45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack.

Leave a Comment

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jane January 27, 2010 at 8:15 am

How timely, my boys like to take cheese buns for lunch and I was thinking how great – and much cheaper – it would be if I could make them myself. I have been reading your blog for a bit and absolutely love all your posts and especially the pictures. You are inspiring me!

I made your homemade hamburger buns yesterday but mine didn’t look at all like your photos the bottoms burned and the tops were still white. This however did not stop us from eating them, we sliced off the bottoms and they were delicious. I made crusty rolls once before and had the same result. I can bake french bread and just about any square/cake/loaf so I DO know how to bake, honest! Any ideas why?

Thank you again for an inspiring post. I will definitely be trying these – as buns once I figure out how to bake them without burning the bottoms.

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2 Kristen January 27, 2010 at 8:23 am

Hmmm…are you using a baking sheet with a dark non-stick finish? If you are, that can cause the bottoms of your rolls/bread to burn before the top is done baking. I use baking sheets that are not shiny and are plain aluminum (Vollrath is the company that makes them), because I always had trouble when I used dark pans.

I’m so glad my blog is helping you!

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3 HeatherS January 27, 2010 at 9:35 am

I was so craving soup and bread today. This will be perfect!

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4 WilliamB January 27, 2010 at 9:46 am

I’m imagining this with the superb parmesano reggiano someone gave me recently. But only if I have a properly appreciative audience!

Have you ever read/used bread books by Bernard Clayton? He has two main ones, a tome on everything and a specialized book of “small breads” inclulding rolls, pitas and scones.

I think the dough looks pretty.

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5 Kristen January 27, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Yes, I had his huge book of breads, but I think I got rid of it at some point. I don’t remember exactly why, really. lol I think the size of it was overwhelming to me, and it had no pictures either (you wouldn’t be surprised to know that I prefer at least a few pictures in my cookbooks!).

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6 Heather January 27, 2010 at 10:19 am

Yumm….I think I’m drooling a bit!

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7 Kristin @ klingtocash January 27, 2010 at 10:52 am

This looks awesome. I might need to make cheese bread to go with the roast chicken tonight.

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8 Lindsay January 27, 2010 at 11:36 am

My husband has been baking us bread every week… I’m not really sure what inspired him, but I am NOT complaining and I’m certainly enjoying his new habit for as long as it lasts! I’ve been telling him to try some of your recipes. Maybe this will be the one.

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9 Rachel January 27, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Yum! This looks delicious and you make it look easy…I don’t know if my bread braiding would look as good as yours though!!

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10 Battra92 January 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Orange cheddar cheese. Ick! I know that it’s just the extract from a South American plant but we here in New England eat our cheese white. Of course, we’re as close to English cheddar as you can get. I see orange and think Velveeta and bleh. ;-)

Still, the bread looks nice. I’ll definitely try it sometime.

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11 Kristen January 27, 2010 at 1:06 pm

May I call you a cheese snob?

I’ve been eating orange Colby and cheddar cheese my whole life, so orange does not equal yucky to me. lol I am totally NOT a fan of processed cheese, though…American cheese slices gross me out.

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12 Battra92 January 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Well it dates back to the days when we were English Colonists (or at least my ancestors were) and they wanted Americans to color their cheese so that they could tell which was to be taxed as an import and what was home grown. They used to use carrot juice on American Cheddar IIRC.

My dad had relatives in the cheese making industry so I guess I can be a cheese snob, at least when it comes to cheddar. I will always pay more for the good stuff. American made (Vermont) Cheddar is one thing I don’t go frugal on. :-)

By the way, a good frugal thing about cheese is that if it develops a little mold you can just cut it off and keep going. :-)

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13 Elizabeth January 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I am drooling at my desk…that looks amazing!

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14 Kimberly January 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Looks yummy! Why do you knead it by hand rather than use your kitchen aid? Does it really make that much of a difference?

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15 Kristen January 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I do use my Kitchen-Aid to do the initial mixing, which kind of jump-starts the kneading process. I feel like I have more control over the kneading when I do it by hand, but I certainly have nothing against mixer kneading. If that’s what works for you, then don’t mess with it! lol

Oh, another reason I prefer to knead by hand is that when I’m making a large batch of dough, it can’t all be kneaded in the mixer…there’s just not space.

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16 Rachel January 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm

This looks really good. I am going to have to make it soon! What kind of yeast do you use again? I have been using the big pack from Sam’s. It works okay.

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17 Kristen January 27, 2010 at 2:35 pm

That’s exactly what I use (well, mine’s from Costco, but it’s basically the same thing). Yeast is so, so cheap at warehouse stores…LOVE that!

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18 morrison January 27, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Love this blog! You’re an inspiration. Going to bake this weekend. Thanks for the recipe. BTW, your photos are WAY too big. Can you back up a bit? Hurts the eyes.

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19 BarbS January 28, 2010 at 10:35 am

Sorry, Morrison, I don’t agree. I love love love Kristen’s photos, and I have never thought they were too big. To me, they fit perfectly in the space.

Just my two cents. We don’t all have to agree on everything ;-)

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20 mara January 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Braided cheese bread is rising, and ready to be served with dinner. As an added bonus, I was wondering how to use up some miscellaneous cheese from my fridge. The bread has about 2 oz mozzarella and 4 oz cheddar.

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21 hiptobeme January 28, 2010 at 4:50 am

That’s it. I can’t read your blog on Wednesday nights anymore. It makes me too hungry!

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22 Rachel January 29, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Several times a week, some good friends and I split dinner and do it potluck style, each bringing one small dish and sharing so we get more variety (and, of course, the good company ;) ) and a good chunk of what I’ve been bringing for the last month or so have been your bread recipes, to rave reviews.

I finally gave up the address to your blog to them, so my secret’s probably out now. Ah well. :) But all that to say: thanks for doing this! It’s much appreciated.

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23 Jenn C January 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Hi Kristen. Plan to make this tonight…..is it okay to use skim milk in the recipe?

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24 Kristen January 29, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Yep, skim is totally fine! I usually use 2%, since that’s what we have around most of the time, but skim will work too.

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25 Jenn C January 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Thanks Kristen. My braided cheese bread turned out great! Using skim milk wasn’t a factor at all. Thanks for replying. The husband is excited I’m making our own bread and now he’s making requests….he wants sourdough, wheat w/ flax and many others now – LOL :)

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26 Michelle January 30, 2010 at 11:08 am

I made this bread yesterday and we all loved it! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe and great photos!

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27 Kristin February 1, 2010 at 11:53 am

Several weeks ago I stumbled upon your sight and have been “lurking” ever since. I was instantly hooked on your site when the first thing to pop up when I clicked on your link was the photo of the cinnamon coffee crumble cake! Yes, by some complete coincidence I found you on a WednesdayJ I cook home cooked meals every night for my family, garden and can or freeze our harvest, coupon like crazy to save money and really evaluate a new purchase before I make it, LOVE photography and am a scrap booking maniac…..but the one thing I was too afraid to try was home baked (things that need yeast and have to rise) goodies for my family. My husband grew up with a mom and grandma that always made homemade breads etc and my one attempt 10 years ago was a complete failure. Over the last few weeks as I have read through your post, old and new, I was confident I could at least attempt your Braided Cheese bread with my stuffed Manicotti meal I made last night. What happened…..it was a HUGE success! My family loved it, my husband raved and an entire loaf disappeared with our meal last night (my kids are only 6 and 23 months) so that goes to show you who ate the majority of the loaf.

My husband said it was perfect but I know it wasn’t. I will give myself a 90% what was wrong…it didn’t rise enough and my dough was a little heavy, so I went back to your site to research my issue and because of your wonderful post and Q&A sessions I know I used too much flour. We won’t tell my family this I will just know for next time.

So the moral of my long comment is THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Your great photos, and I really do mean great, your incredible step-by-step directions, your problem question and answer posts and just your entire post on baking breads have turned this scared yeast and rising recipe lady into a homemade bread maker!

I would LOVE to start composting for my garden, but I’m not sure there would be much composting going on in 30 degree weather in ND.

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28 Randi February 1, 2010 at 4:46 pm

If you need yeast, King Arthur has free shipping( ends today) on their yeast which is SAF instant( its great). 5.95 total cost.

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29 Betty February 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm

What a wonderful site. I just found it today. Saw it on KNOE TV news this morning. Thank you so much for creating this site and sharing with everyone.

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30 Linda Lumbert February 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm

So excited to find your site, was just thinking about baking bread and tried the
Breaded Cheese Bread but it doesn’t seem to be rising, I had the same problem the last time I made bread. The dough did seem a little stiff ,I only used 3 cups of flour. Any ideas? Thanks Linda

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31 Mel February 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I was wondering… You make all your bread from scratch, right? Do you make just the average loaf of “sandwich” bread? If so, have you done any cost comparisons for all the ingredients? Because a loaf of bread at Aldi is like, $0.79. Cant see how the fraction of a bag of flour and other ingredients works out to be saving all that much money. It’s worth it on the ‘gourmet’ breads and other things. I love baking (though I hate cooking), and I will definitely be trying out the cheese bread. Does it make a difference to use the ‘quick rise’ yeast?

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32 Brandy March 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I never thought I could make homeade bread. Thanks for your easy recipes. :~)

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33 Frances April 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Always Awesome photos and recipes!!!

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34 Kristin @ KlingtoCash November 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I made this earlier in the week and we loved it. My husband said this was the best bread I ever made. We will be making it again and I will be linking this recipe to the recipe page on my blog. Thanks for another great recipe!

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35 Angela February 3, 2013 at 9:40 am

Bread was awesome! At what point in the process can we freeze the dough. I have heard to freeze before the first rise and I have heard to freeze after the first rise. They say to increase the yeast when freezing. Please advise what is the best process to freeze your bread.

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36 Kristen February 4, 2013 at 8:32 am

I generally freeze after baking. If you want to freeze before baking with this dough, I’d probably let it rest for 20 minutes after kneading, then freeze it. Let it thaw totally when you want to use it, then braid it and let it rise as usual.

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37 Dan Campbell March 23, 2013 at 9:47 am

I used a Double Gloucester with Onion and Chive (Iceland, 2) and did it as a 6 strand challah type single loaf. It was amazing toasted under the grill with a nice tuna salad and caesar dressing. I felt like a gourmet chef :D great recipe though. 5/5

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