Tiny Pull-Apart Breads

Alright boys and girls, feast your eyes on the cutest little bread EVER. It reminds me of a doughy little sea creature! And as if being adorable wasn’t enough, these little guys had to go and be all sorts of crazy delicious too.

I stumbled upon a recipe for pull-apart bread many years ago, and was instantly obsessed. I’ve never been too keen on bread with other ingredients mixed right into the dough. But isolated layers of yumminess sandwiched between slices of bread that I can easily peel away from each other and stuff in my face? Sold! The recipe that I was following back then involved dividing the dough into somewhere between 8–12 pieces, shaping it into discs, and adding the filling between each one. Having so few layers didn’t exactly deliver the tastiness I was hoping for. It was more like eating a big chunk of bread with a hint of something yummy on it. And so, I abandoned the recipe after a few attempts and forgot about pull-apart bread. Then a couple months ago, I stumbled upon this recipe from Joy the Baker. As soon as I saw the first picture, my eyes lit up. How…HOW did she get all those layers?! I immediately scrolled down to discover one big sheet of rolled out dough, topped with filling and then sliced and stacked. Genius. Obsession reinstated.

The great thing about this bread is it’s unbelievably versatile. You can use whatever dough recipe you like, and you can fill it with whatever you like. I chose a basic bread recipe and went with roasted garlic, fresh herbs, and cheese as the filling. I also had a yet-unused mini bread pan that I decided would be perfect for these. (The idea of a bunch of different hands grabbing at a loaf of bread kind of grosses me out. Also, tiny treats are more fun!) If you don’t have a mini bread pan, you can use a muffin tin. Or you can always go with a normal loaf pan. It will be scrumptious, no matter what!

Pull-Apart Bread with Herbs, Cheese, and Roasted Garlic

yield: 1 loaf / 8 mini loaves / 12 muffins

Bread

  • 3 cups of flour (I used half bread flour and half all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 packet of yeast (2¼ tsp.)
  • ⅓ cup of sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Filling

  • 1 bulb of roasted garlic
  • ¾ cup of fresh herbs (I used basil, dill, rosemary, parsley, and sage)
  • ¾ cup of cheese (I used ½ cup cheddar and ¼ cup parmesan, and a little bit of goat cheese)
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted (to brush on dough before adding the filling)

Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and set aside for a few minutes (until foamy). Add butter and salt to the yeast mixture, then sift in flour 1 cup at a time, until dough forms. Turn out on a floured surface and knead for 8–10 minutes, until dough is smooth. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with saran wrap or a damp towel, and set in a warm area for about an hour, or until doubled.

While dough is rising, roast your garlic. Preheat the oven to 400°. Chop the top of the bulb off (just enough to expose all of the cloves). Rub with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until garlic is soft. Remove from the oven and let cool, then squeeze out all of the cloves.

Punch down dough and turn out on a well-floured surface. Knead a few times, and then let it rest for 5 minutes. In the meantime, dice herbs and garlic, grate cheese, and melt the butter. Roll dough out into a large rectangle, somewhere between ¼ and ⅛ of an inch thick. Brush butter over the entire surface of the dough, then cover evenly with the filling.

Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into squares. Use your best judgment for size, depending on the type of pan you are using (my squares were approximately 2″ x 2″, or just high enough to peak over the top of the tin, pre-second rise). Stack slices and place in a greased tin/pan. Cover and let rise for another 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake: mini loaves for 20–25 minutes / muffin tin loaves for 15–18 minutes / 1 full loaf for 30–35 minutes (or until tops begin to turn golden brown). Remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan for half an hour, then have at ‘em!

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Comments

  1. says

    I saw pull apart bread a few years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since too. I love the idea of making them in mini loaf pans!

  2. says

    I’m usually one to stray away from bread recipes because I don’t want to have to deal with yeast, but this is too adorable and yummy-looking to pass up!

  3. says

    Is one bulb of garlic the whole thing? that’ a lot of garlic! No matter, I think from this post I have what I need to make something that I’ve been dreaming about for a while now…

    • says

      Yup, the whole thing! I used one medium-sized bulb, although I think I could have used a larger one without it being over-powering. Roasting it gives it a sweet, almost caramelized flavor (infinitely less intense than raw garlic). And it will make your house smell divine!

  4. says

    These are adorable! I’ve made this bread with cinnamon before, but have been wanting to try out a savory version for a long time. This looks perfect!

    • Jerri says

      Adriana, can you share your cinnamon recipe? I have to make 150 6 x 3 loaves for an event and I want at least 5 varieties. I am also not a fan of making bread involving yeast, etc. but I would do it for this. Thanks.

  5. says

    Hi!
    I was so captivated by your bread’s picture and drooling over it! It looks really lovely. I love baking breads myself as there’re so much possibilities to try on. And seeing yours, I can’t wait to try this pull apart bread.
    ^_^ Thank you for sharing!

    • says

      Sorry, I was being lazy in my instructions. :) It is one standard-sized packet of yeast, which is equal to ¼ oz., or 2¼ tsp.

  6. Jessica says

    Do you separeate the cloves of garlic when you roast them? Or just stick the whole bulb in together? This looks delicious!!! Also, where would I find a square muffin tin that you used?

    • says

      Hi Jessica! Don’t worry about separating the cloves—just stick the whole thing right in there! I randomly received that mini bread pan after my mom did a massive cabinet clean out and unloaded everything she hardly/never uses onto me. :) But you can definitely find them online if you google “mini bread pan.” This one from Amazon is pretty similar to what I’m using. I also found this cute little one from William Sonoma.

  7. Lisa says

    I made this for company in a full size loaf pan, and it came out delicious! My oven is slower so I ended up tenting it with foil and baking it longer than suggested. I’d love to try it in a mini loaf pan! Thanks for an amazing recipe!

    • says

      Glad it worked out! I’d love to try this as a normal loaf too, since I imagine it would be fluffier than the mini loaves. I’m just afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop eating it. :)

  8. Kita says

    I tried it out with a normal loaf pan too, and had to tent with foil + bake for about 20 mins longer – it was so amazingly yummy though, and my family loved it!!

  9. Bridget Ulrich says

    I love this recipe! First time I made it, I made a few mistakes but it still came out pretty good. This time I got the recipe down and all the steps went perfectly save one: had very little white flour. Despite substituting in whole wheat the dough still worked and I am even happier knowing I can have this a bit healthier or naughtier depending on my mood and the occasion.

    Thank you for sharing! Keep up the great work, sweet lady!

    • says

      Thank you, Bridget! :)

      I just had a similar flour experience the other weekend when I began making homemade cheez-its and discovered I was completely out of AP flour, and had to use whole wheat instead. At first I was disappointed, since whole wheat cheez-its just seemed like an abomination, but they were actually quite good!

  10. says

    AMAZING. Now you’ve got *me* obsessing about the endless possibilities of this very very cute bread. Can’t wait to make it.

  11. Alice says

    This was amazing! I tried it with wholemeal flour in a loaf, and it worked a treat. I am a complete novice at bread baking, and it was the best bread I have ever eaten. Thanks!

  12. Lorraine says

    Hi!! This looks amazing! I was wondering if I would still follow the directions exactly if using a muffin tin? Do I still cut the dough into squares?

    • says

      Hi Lorraine! I’ve actually done the same thing in a muffin tin before, and I prepared them pretty much the same way, but just made the actual groups of bread slices a little bit smaller to fit in the muffin cups. :)

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