With this Tomato Cheese Pull Apart Bread I have created a recipe that is fun, has cheese that melts easily and has flavor, and I have added some tomato to give the snack a little more variety than just bread dipped in garlic butter with melted cheese. Share it with friends as a snack. Serve it at lunch or dinner with a salad.
As the name reveals, this pull apart bread is made with tomato, butter and garlic and cheese and bread and parsley to be complete. To be a little more specific, I used an crusty bread, a rather dense bread. This type of bread does stay together when baked, can soak up more of the goodies and has a great crunch. I do believe that this recipe can be done with any type of bread; it depends on what’s important to you or what you prefer. You can use whole grain, multi-grain, any shape and dense or light and airy bread. The differences will be in flavor, looks and how easily you can pull the individual parts from the ‘mother bread’. Pick what you like; I used a 9 inch boule, round bread.
So let’s pull apart the recipe; let’s get our hands dirty 🙂
You’ll start with cutting the bread. If you have a round bread as I have, it does not matter where you start, straight or on a diagonal; it will all turn out fine. A diagonal cut is straight when you turn the bread or visa versa. If you have a oval loaf you may want to consider diagonal cuts as it just gives a nicer look. So slice you bread, but do NOT cut all the way through, cut until you reach the crust at the bottom. Make the slices about 1 inch thick. When you’re done, turn the bread 90 degrees, like a swivel, and slice/cut the bread again, 1 inch thick slices. This time it is a little harder, so go slow. The end result in a bread that is kept together by the bottom crust with stalks of individual bread cubes.
Now starts the hands-on part. The push apart part. Start with impregnating the bread with garlic butter. Melt the butter and add a clove of minced garlic and mix. Or make your own garlic butter, like I did last year or buy ready-made garlic butter. By doing it yourself you can add the amount of garlic you like. You may just want to use half a clove or may be 2 cloves. All depends on what you’ll have on your agenda the next day; how much close contact you may have.
Melt the garlic butter, add a pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle it in every crack of your bread. You will not soak up every stalk with the garlic butter, because that would mean loads of butter and thus a very unhealthy end result. You do want the flavor in every crack in every part you will pull off this bread. So keep on stirring the butter, so the garlic is divided nicely as well. If your hands are not big enough to keep the pieces apart, use a bread knife or a spatula.
Once the garlic is in the bread, it is time for the tomato and the cheese. Wash and core the tomato and disregard the seeds. The seeds would make the bread to soggy and you want the bread pieces to hold together when you pull them. Cut the tomato in tiny pieces and like the garlic butter, divide over the cracks in the bread.
Next is the cheese part. Grate the cheese you want to use. If you looking for stringy cheese, no better choice than mozzarella. If you want a dramatic pull, where the cheese strings keep on coming and coming, you’ll definitely need to use Mozzarella. I opted for a Gouda cheese because I wanted a little more flavor and felt that a Gouda would do that better than Mozzarella. It does not string, like the Mozzarella, but I wanted flavor over strings. Gouda cheese melts fantastic, so that’s no issue. With you fingers, push the shredded cheese into the cracks, don’t push it down too much, keep it light and airy, so the heat from the oven can come everywhere.
If some of the cheese ends up on the outside of the bread, that’s fine, it will add an extra dimension, extra color, extra flavor. All ingredients are in the bread now, so time to bake. Wrap aluminum foil around the bread and bake it approx. 20 minutes in a preheated oven of 400 degrees F. When you open the foil, you will see that all the cheese is melted. If not, put it back in the oven for a little while. When the cheese is melted, unwrap the bread and place it in the oven for another 5 minutes. These 5 minutes make the crust crunchy and add just a little color. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. The end result is a beautiful flower of bread, a Tomato Cheese Pull Apart Bread. Full of color, full of flavor and soon ready to be pulled apart. Enjoy!
When you’re not eating all of it at once, keep it in the fridge, pop in the oven or microwave the next day and it will taste great again. May be even better, because the various flavors have soaked into the bread even longer.