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Sourdough Twisted Cheese Bread

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Soft sourdough bread with twists of cheddar cheese and brushed with savoury herbs. This bread has the perfect texture for toasting, as a side with dinner or as a sandwich bread.

Front view of twisted cheese bread showing puffed crown and melted cheese and herbs.
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I’ve been making sourdough bread for a few years and one thing that always bothered me was discarding, or tossing, starter so I could feed it again.

It has left me finding all sorts of ways to use up that discard, which has so much amazing flavour.

This twisted cheese bread is one of my favourites. The sourdough discard gives it a very light sourdough flavour. The texture of the bread is soft and chewy and holds up well to toasting or as sandwich bread. And, of course, there is that marble of sharp cheddar cheese running throughout.

It is also delicious as a side with pasta dishes or soup like sausage gnocchi, meatball soup, or cauliflower soup.

I’ve made this bread with both fed starter and week-old discard and had great results with both. Because we are adding active dry yeast the rise time is far shorter than traditional sourdough bread and you don’t have to be around all day for stretching and folding.

Sliced cheese bread on a wooden cutting board.

Ingredients

For a complete list of ingredients see the printable recipe at the bottom of this post.

Sourdough discard – This is the part of the sourdough starter you remove from the jar before feeding it again. I’ve made this recipe with discard from starter that was fed the day before, and from discard that was a week-old and had great results with both.

Active dry yeast – This is just traditional dry yeast. If you need the dough to rise quicker you could also use rapid rise (or instant) yeast.

All purpose flour – You don’t have to have special bread flour for this recipe. All purpose flour works just fine. Though bread flour can be substituted if you have it.

Ingredients for cheese bread.

Instructions

Make the Dough

One – In a small saucepan, or large microwavable measuring cup, heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted and milk is warm. You are looking for about 115°F.

Add the yeast and sugar and allow to sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast starts to get foamy, then add it to a large bowl along with the sourdough discard.

Two – Mix in the salt and flour. Stir until you have a shaggy dough. It should feel sticky without feeling wet. Depending on how hydrated your discard is you may need to add a tablespoon or two of additional flour.

Three – Turn the dough out onto a floured counter top and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. As you knead the dough you should notice that it becomes less sticky and starts to feel smooth and stretchy.

Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise 1-2 hours until approximately doubled.

Four – When the dough has risen you can begin to form the loaf.

Process of mixing and rising dough.

Don’t have a sourdough starter at home? Learn how to make your own sourdough starter in a few easy steps!

Form the cheese bread

One – Turn the risen dough out onto a floured countertop or pastry mat. Do not punch-down or knead the dough.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle of about 10×12 inches then sprinkle the shredded cheese over the entire surface.

Two – Roll the dough from the long edge to form a log, just as if you were rolling dough for cinnamon rolls.

Three – With a sharp knife, cut the roll down the middle lengthwise so you end up with 2 long ropes. You should be able to see layers of dough and cheese.

Four – Twist the bread together beginning from the end furthest from you. Fold the right hand side rope over top of the other, then repeat two more times. Pinch the ends together to help keep them from separating.

Process of filling dough with cheese, rolling and twisting.

Pro Tip – For a spicy variation, add some seeded and diced jalapeños with the cheese layer to make a delicious sourdough jalapeño cheese bread.

Let rise and bake

One – Place the twisted bread into a lightly greased 9×5 loaf pan. The twisted dough will be a bit longer than the pan. Fit it in by compressing it slightly to fill the pan.

Two – Let rise for 30-45 minutes. After the rise, mix the melted butter and herbs in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the loaf.

Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350°F until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped.

Cheese bread in a stone loaf pan before and after rising.

Pro Tip – I love using a non-glazed stoneware loaf pan when baking bread. It cooks evenly and helps the crust from over browning.

Remove the pan to a cooling rack for 10 minutes then tilt the loaf out of the pan. For best results allow to cool completely before slicing.

Overhead view of baked twisted cheese bread with golden crust.

Bread Making Tips

  1. Make sure the yeast is fresh. Test a teaspoon of yeast, along with a teaspoon of sugar in a cup of warm water. If the yeast is active you should notice that it starts to bubble and foam after about 5 minutes.
  2. Don’t overheat your liquid. The liquid you add to the yeast should be no hotter than 115°F.
  3. Make sure you knead the dough long enough. It will take 7-10 minutes to knead the dough. It will start off a bit sticky, but as you knead the dough it will become soft, stretchy and smooth. (Use a stand mixer if you like)
  4. Allow adequate time to rise. Depending on the temperature and humidity it will take 1-2 hours to double in size on the first proof.
  5. Don’t over-proof on the second rise. The second rise should only take 30-45 minutes. You are not looking for it to double in volume here, but rise just enough to fill the pan and rise over the edge just a bit. It will do its final rise in the oven. Over-proofing will actually cause the bread to collapse while baking.
  6. Wait for it to cool completely before slicing. This is the hardest part! But waiting will help the crumb form and it will be easier to slice without squashing it.
Slices of cheese bread on a wooden cutting board.

FAQS

Why didn’t my dough rise?

If your dough doesn’t rise it is probably from one of two things. Either the yeast is dead, or the liquid you used was too hot making the yeast inactive.

You can test your yeast by adding a teaspoon of yeast to some warm water and one teaspoon of sugar. After about 5 minutes you should notice the yeast starts to rise to the top and become foamy. This means your yeast is active. The liquid you use when making your bread should not be more than 115°F or it could kill the yeast.

Why does the top of my bread get too dark?

All ovens work a bit differently and how dark your bread gets will depend on the heat coming from your top element and how close the bread is to the element.

If you notice the top of the bread is becoming too dark before it finishes baking you can cover it with a piece of tinfoil to prevent it from burning.

More Yeast Breads

Recipe

Front view of twisted cheese bread showing puffed crown and melted cheese and herbs.

Sourdough Twisted Cheese Bread

Soft sourdough bread with twists of cheddar cheese and brushed with savoury herbs. This bread has the perfect texture for toasting, as a side with dinner or as a sandwich bread.
5 from 18 votes
Print Pin Save Recipe Rate
Course: Breads
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Rise Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 12 Slices
Calories: 291kcal
Author: Deanna

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1/4 Cup salted butter
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Cup sourdough discard
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 Cup salted butter melted
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, or large microwavable measuring cup, heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted and milk is warm. You are looking for about 115°F.
  • Add the yeast and sugar and allow to sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast starts to get foamy, then add it to a large bowl along with the sourdough discard.
  • Mix in the salt and flour. Stir until you have a shaggy dough. It should feel sticky without feeling wet. Depending on how hydrated your discard is you may need to add a tablespoon or two of additional flour.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured counter top and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. As you knead the dough you should notice that it becomes less sticky and starts to feel smooth and stretchy.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise 1-2 hours until approximately doubled.
  • Turn the risen dough out onto a floured countertop or baking mat. Do not punch-down or knead the dough.
  • Roll the dough out into a rectangle of about 10×12 inches then sprinkle the shredded cheese over the entire surface.
  • Roll the dough from the long edge to form a log, just as if you were rolling dough for cinnamon rolls.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the roll down the middle lengthwise so you end up with 2 long ropes. You should be able to see layers of dough and cheese.
  • Twist the bread together beginning from the end furthest from you. Bring the right hand-side rope over top of the other, then repeat two more times. Pinch the ends together to help keep them from separating.
  • Place the twisted bread into a lightly greased 9×5 loaf pan. The twisted dough will be a bit longer than the pan. Fit it in by compressing it slightly to fill the pan.
  • Let rise for 30-45 minutes. It should rise to fill the pan.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°F
  • In a small bowl mix the melted butter, parsley, chives and garlic and pour over the top of the loaf.
  • Place the pan on the centre rack of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is lightly golden and sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Remove the pan to a cooling rack for 10 minutes then tilt the loaf out of the pan. For best results allow to cool completely before slicing.

Notes

Depending on how hydrated your sourdough discard is you may need to add an extra tablespoon or two of flour to the dough to get the right consistency.
If you have a proof setting on your oven you can use this to help the dough rise quicker.
If you prefer, you can do all the mixing and kneading in a stand mixer.  Allow the mixer to run for about 10 minutes, then turn the dough out onto a counter and knead a couple of times to form a smooth ball. 
If you notice the top of the bread is becoming too dark you can cover with a piece of aluminum foil. 

Nutrition

Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 583mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 739IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 170mg | Iron: 2mg
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