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Pull-Apart Bread w/ Cheese, Herbs, & Seeds

Pull-Apart Bread with Cheese, Herbs, and Seeds
There's something so irresistible about bread that is pieced together like a patchwork quilt, beckoning you to pick off a hunk of golden bread and pop it into your mouth. Whether you call it pull-apart bread or monkey bread, the theory is the same. Dunking bread in a fat of some sort, and then rolling it in any sort of toppings.

In my house, we all love a sticky-sweet ring of monkey bread. We probably like it far too much. The bread that my youngest son requests the most is cinnamon-sugar pull-apart bread. One has dough balls that you can pluck off one by one, the other has dough sheets that can be peeled and enjoyed. Both are entirely irresistible.

Occasionally I'll make a savory pull-apart like I did today to fit this month's #TwelveLoaves theme, HERBS. But to make it even more fun, I wanted to use more than just herbs, so I added seeds and a couple of different kinds of cheese for interest.

Pull-Apart Bread with Cheese, Herbs, and Seeds
Guess what? I was picked and pulled and devoured in short order. Just as I thought it would be.

Pull-Apart Bread w/ Cheese, Herbs, & Seeds
Who can resist picking pieces from this savory pull-apart loaf? Each segment is dipped in melted butter then rolled in herbs, garlic, cheese, or sesame seeds.
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Pull-Apart Bread w/ Cheese, Herbs, & Seeds
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 2.5 hours (mostly unattended)
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Keywords: bake bread herbs sesame seeds flour cheese

Ingredients (1 loaf)
    for the dough:
    • 1-1/3 cup water
    • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
    • 2-1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2-1/2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp
    for dipping and rolling (pick and choose your favorites):
    • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    • a variety of fresh herbs, chopped
    • finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
    • finely shredded Parmesan cheese + smoked paprika
    • seeds: sesame, poppy, etc.
    • very finely chopped or sliced nuts
    • minced fresh garlic
    Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, attach dough hook, and stir on low to combine. Turn up to medium and knead for 5-8 minutes, until smooth. Turn out into a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 60-75 minutes.

    Butter or use non-stick spray to grease the inside of a 9" x 5" loaf pan. Place all of your toppings in separate small bowls. Set your small bowl of melted butter alongside the toppings.

    Punch down the risen dough, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, then use a bench scraper to divide in half. Form each half into a ball and press flat slightly. Still using a bench scraper, cut each ball into 16 fairly even "rags" of dough (cutting like a pie works great), so that you wind up with 32 pieces.
    forming Pull-Apart Bread with Cheese, Herbs, and Seeds
    Dip each rag of dough into the melted butter, then roll in one of the toppings. Set in your pan, and repeat, alternating toppings as you wish, until all the dough is in the pan. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature to rise for 1 hour.

    Preheat oven to 350° F during the last 15-20 minutes of rise time.

    Remove plastic wrap, then slide the pan into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, loosen around the edges if need be, and then carefully turn out and set on a tray or cutting board to serve.

    -dough adapted from King Arthur Flour, toppings inspired by Food Network Magazine, November 2013 
    Pull-Apart Bread with Cheese, Herbs, and Seeds

    #TwelveLoaves August: Herbs