Pull-apart breads and monkey bread recipes are plentiful indeed! And with good reason: Little balls of bread dough drenched in the sweet or savory sauce of ones choice bake up in a convenient and easy-to-disassemble (pull-apart) form! And plenty of flavor in every bite. My mother-in-law makes a killer Pepperoni Pizza pull-apart bread. There are often sweet, caramel-laden monkey breads at out weekly Friday Breakfast Feast at work.
One of my family’s favorite bread indulgences is the simple, straight-forward garlic bread: whether it be in loaf form, breadsticks or knots. Buttery, garlicky bread is where it’s at. When contemplating my first pull-apart bread creation this combination, along with some gooey, melty Italian cheeses was an easy pick.
When my daughter overheard my musings on this creation, she declared that she would “literally kill me” if I didn’t make it happen.Immediately. Now.
How’s that for an expression of loving support and/or threat of bodily harm!
My first attempt at this pull-apart bread was to layer it in a standard bread loaf pan. And I discovered why ring pans or Bundt pans are preferred: the very center of the pull-apart bread baked in the loaf pan was still doughy.
When baked in a ring or Bundt pan, the heat more evenly and quickly reaches all parts of the dough, ensuring perfectly baked, soft bread in every bite.
The recipe is below, and if you need additional appetizers to round out your party try these babies!
Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Bread
This snacking bread is loaded with gooey cheeses and rich, buttery garlic flavor!
- 24 ounces white bread dough, (about 1-1/2 pounds)
- 3/4 cup butter
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
In a medium saute pan, melt the butter and heat it until it begins to bubble. Add in the minced garlic and cook the garlic over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook just until the garlic is fragrant and turning translucent, about 2 minutes. Do not allow garlic to brown. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in parsley and set the pan aside to let the butter mixture cool somewhat.
Rub the inside of a ring pan or Bundt pan (a pan with a hole in the center) with butter. Divide the bread dough in half. Roll out one portion of dough into a long rope. Snip up the rope into 1-inch portions. Place them in an even layer over the bottom of the prepared pan. Ladle over this layer of dough balls most of the cooled garlic-butter-parsley mixture. Next, sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and the shredded Parmesan cheese over the dough.
Roll out the other half of the dough into a long rope and snip this up into 1-inch bits as before. Layer these over the top of the first layer of dough balls. Pour the remaining garlic-butter-parsley over the dough. Use a fork or rubber spatula to reach down along the inside of the pan to pull up the contents a little. Do this a few times to jostle the layers a bit, to ensure that the bread and cheese will be intermingled and not end up in solid layers.
Place a piece of plastic wrap loosely over the top of the pan and place it in a warm place to rise for 45-60 minutes, until the dough has doubled in volume.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Remove the plastic from the top of the pan. Place the pan in the preheated oven to bake for 30 minutes, until the top of the bread is browned.
Have ready a platter that has enough room to hold the bread. Remove the pan from the oven. Run a knife along between the bread and pan to loosen it. Place the platter upside down over the top of the bread pan. Use oven mitts and with a firm grip carefully flip over the bread pan and platter so that the bread pan ends up on top and the bread can slip out onto the platter.
Serve the pull-apart bread immediately while warm.
Notes: I made the white bread dough in my bread machine set to the dough cycle. You can also make dough by hand: allow it to have the first rise, then punch it down and proceed with the recipe. Many grocery stores also sell pre-made dough in bags, and you'll find them in a refrigerated case. Frozen bread dough can also be used, but allow it to thaw completely in the fridge overnight.