An elegant but simple pull-apart bread infused with the flavors of parmesan and rosemary, the perfect appetizer for your next holiday party.
We’ve all been there, sitting at the restaurant table waiting for your favorite course of the meal; the bread. It seems no matter where you go now; every sit-down establishment has a bread course. If they don’t, something is wrong, am I right? A couple of days ago, I was sitting at home craving those classic dinner rolls. Nothing fancy, just simple, yeasty, dinner rolls.
I started searching the internet for a simple roll recipe. I say simple because I am not the baker in our household. That category of cooking is typically Kim’s domain. I stick to meats and sauces. However, she was still at the office, and I could not shake that craving. I found a dinner roll recipe at All Recipes and decided to give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen; I waste some flour and yeast? Besides, I really wanted to surprise Kim with a successful baking endeavor.
Especially, since the poor girl has been subjected to my biscuits and has somehow managed to eat them with a smile. She has more than earned the right to have someone else make a tasty bread recipe for her enjoyment. Well, it turns out the dinner rolls at All Recipes were foolproof because even I managed to make them without screwing it up. The rolls are fluffy, yeasty, and downright delicious.
Following up on that baking triumph, I was inspired to develop this simple parmesan rosemary pull-apart bread utilizing that recipe. This bread has the same amazing characteristics of a great dinner roll but taken to the next level with the nuttiness of parmesan, richness of butter, and earthiness of rosemary. It makes the perfect appetizer for a dinner party or bread course with your next meal. In closing, it’s with a happy heart; I bring this offering to your table.
Prep the Yeast:
As I said before, this is an easy recipe to execute. However, before getting started, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, spray a bundt pan with cooking spray; otherwise, the bread will stick, badly. Afterward, shred the parmesan cheese and separate your butter in half. Place one-half in a small bowl on your stove top to soften while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Afterward, give the fresh rosemary a good, rough chop.
Once you have the completed these steps, it’s time to activate the yeast. Now, there are a couple of different ways to complete this action. Some people use a microwave and if you are comfortable with using that method then be my guest. Since I am a baking noob, I use a small saucepan and the stove top on low heat to warm the liquid until the butter has completely melted. This is my way of heating the milk, water, and sugar to activate the yeast without making the mixture too hot and killing the yeast.
So, in a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and water until the butter has melted completely. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a microwave-safe bowl. Then, add the yeast and mix it with a whisk or fork until the yeast has completely dissolved. Set the bowl aside for 10 to 15 minutes. If everything was done correctly, the smell of yeast should fill the air and the liquid should get foamy and frothy. If not, then dump that mixture down the drain and redo the yeast activation step.
Making the Dough:
While waiting for the yeast to activate, in a standing mixer bowl and using a spoon, combine the flour and salt. After the yeast has activated, slowly add it to the flour. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and starting on low speed mix the dough for approximately two minutes. Then, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the dough for another two minutes. If needed, scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure all the flour gets mixed. At that point, the dough should come together and pull away from the side of the bowl. Turn off the mixer and remove the dough. It should come off the hook easily, and the hook should be clean.
Next, comes the kneading. Which, by the way, should be part of any workout routine. If you detest cleaning flour off your countertops, then try this hack. We use silicone baking sheets in our kitchen, which can double as a non-stick kneading surface. I use this method instead of dusting the counter with flour. It makes clean up so much easier. Knead the dough for approximately eight minutes, then proceed to the last few steps.
Building the Parmesan Rosemary Pull-Apart Bread:
After kneading the dough, begin tearing off pieces of the dough and rolling them into one inch balls. Take the bundt pan and start placing the balls in the pan, building layers of dough balls. Once the first layer is done, brush the dough with softened butter and then sprinkle with rosemary and parmesan cheese. Repeat this process until all the dough has been used. Don’t be alarmed if you have cheese and herbs left over; it can be used later. With the pan loaded, cover it with a dry kitchen towel and place the pan in a warm, dry spot and let rise for 30 minutes. The dough balls should double in size.
When the dough has risen, remove the kitchen towel and bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for approximately 25 minutes or until bread is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool on cooling rack until ready to serve. The easiest way to remove the bread is to place your serving dish on the top of the bundt pan (touching the bottom of the visible bread) and flip the pan over. The pull-apart bread should pop right out. Now, remember that extra parmesan? You can sprinkle it over the top of the bread and pop it back in a warm oven to melt.
If you are like me and are satisfied with the simple parmesan crust on the bread, then serve the bread “as is.” If you like, you can include an olive oil dipping sauce or marinara dipping sauce. Me, I loved the bread straight from the oven, no sauces needed. However, I do think an olive tapenade paste would be phenomenal with this pull-apart bread. No matter how you decide to serve it, we sincerely hope you enjoy the dish! Oh, just a reminder, the hold time is about two days.
Used in this Recipe:
- 8 ounces of parmesan cheese
- 3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick, divided and half softened)
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 4 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (2 envelopes)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Shred parmesan cheese.
Roughly chop rosemary.
Activate the yeast by placing the milk, water, sugar, and 4 tablespoons of butter into a small saucepan over low heat and allow butter to melt.
After butter melts and liquid reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from heat and pour into a heat-safe glass bowl.
Add yeast and stir to combine.
Yeast should become foamy and light in color, this process normally takes 10-15 minutes.
While yeast activates, use a spoon to combine flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
After yeast activates, combine it with the flour and salt.
Place the bowl on the stand mixer and use a dough hook to mix the dough on low speed for 1-3 minutes. Then increase to medium speed for additional 1-3 minutes.
If necessary, stop and scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all the flour gets incorporated. Once the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, remove it from the mixer and place it on a well-floured surface.
*Tip: We like to use a silicone mat to knead the dough. That way there is no extra flour required and there’s less mess to clean up afterwards!
Knead for approximately 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
Tear the dough into 1-inch pieces and roll into balls and place the balls into a single layer in the bundt pan.
Brush the dough with softened butter, then sprinkle with rosemary and parmesan.
Continue to layer the dough, butter, rosemary, and parmesan until all the dough is used.
If you have any leftover rosemary or parmesan, you can add it to the top of the bread after it cooks and is removed from the pan.