This Braided Cheese-Onion Bread has been a favorite recipe in our family for years! The chewy texture of the bread, combined with ribbons of melted cheese and onions all baked into one beautiful loaf is the perfect companion for almost any main dish.
A bread lover’s dream
I love almost any type of bread, sweet, savory, wheat, white, dense, light. The combination of the onions and cheese in this homemade bread are out of this world delicious! I like to use a bit of bread flour in this recipe to create a more chewy texture in the bread itself. The filling is really simple, it’s just melted butter with chopped raw onions and grated cheeses. The onions cook a bit in the oven so no need to pre-cook. When the bread is baking the aroma is unbelievable. It’s hard to keep the oven door shut and not peek!
I bake my Braided Cheese-Onion Bread on a jelly roll pan. I have several different types of jelly roll pans (aka baking or cookie sheets), but my favorite is this heavy duty USA Bakewear Jelly Roll pan. It is heavier than most jelly roll pans, which makes for better even baking and less of a chance to burn on the bottom.
Braids for days
I’ve heard bakers say braided bread is a lost art! I’m not much of an artist, but I can make braided bread. If you can braid your hair, you can make Braided Cheese-Onion Bread. This recipe consists of three ropes of filled dough, braided.
A couple of tips for easy handling of dough:
Tip 1- Make sure your dough is not overly soft. If the dough is sticky at all when you are finished mixing, it is too soft. The dough should not be shiny at all. If the dough is at all sticky, fold in a couple of tablespoons at a time until the dough has a matte appearance!
Tip 2- Don’t be afraid to handle the dough! This dough will not be damaged by handling. If the dough breaks apart when you are braiding or moving onto the cookie sheet, simple pinch the dough back together. Flouring your hands will also make the dough easier to handle. I like to brush the finished braid with a bit of beaten egg for a shiny finished texture, but it is not necessary.
I do not recommend buttering the outside of the dough! Buttering before baking will not brown up quite as nicely and there’s already plenty of butter and oil in the dough.
How to make chewy bread
To achieve a more chewy texture, I add 1 cup of bread flour to the dough. I’ve found that after making this bread for years if it’s made with only All Purpose flour, the structure of the dough is a little too soft to support all of the filling ingredients. I love the texture of ABK’s French bread and tried to make this bread in a similar way, adding bread flour and kneading to add a chewy texture.
Also, kneading the bread after all of the ingredients are added to the bowl also helps develop the gluten in the dough and will yield a more chewy bread. The original recipe called for about half of the ingredients in the filling with no grated cheddar. I knew that adding more filling and another cheese would make this bread over-the-top delicious!
Braided Cheese Onion Bread – Any way you shape it, you’ll love it!
I usually try to keep the ingredients in this bread a bit under wraps when serving to kids. The first thing a kid does when they hear the “O” word is wrinkle their nose and tell you they don’t like onions. That said, I have yet to meet a person who does not love this bread. Kid, adult, young or old. Everyone loves Braided Cheese-Onion Bread!
If braiding is out of your comfort zone, try splitting the dough into two pieces roll out about 6×12 and then roll up as you would cinnamon rolls. Cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces and place close together on a greased cookie sheet or in a muffin tin for rolls that hold their shape easily!
The recipe will yield about 2-3 dozen rolls, depending on size of cut. I like to make rolls for luncheons where the tables are preset. If you are serving this at a table, or on a buffet, slice up about half of the bread (about 1 1/2 inch thick pieces) and leave the other half of the braid unsliced for presentation.
Leave the bread knife next to the bread so it can be sliced if needed. The bread may also be pulled apart and not sliced. Because the bread is filled with cheese and a little butter, no need to serve with any other condiments. Hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
Braided Cheese-Onion Bread
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 cups flour I use 3 cups all purpose, 1 cup bread flour
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup canola, vegetable or a mild olive oil
- 1/2 cup milk (any type) warmed
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 additional egg for egg wash on top of braided loaf beaten in a small bowl
- 1 cup onion diced fine
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
- 1 tablespoon poppyseeds optional*
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt or 1 clove garlic minced and 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
In a large mixing bowl, mix yeast and 1/4 cup warm water. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.
Set aside until yeast begins to bubble.
Add 4 cups flour, melted butter, oil, warm milk, 1/2 cup water, sugar, salt and egg to the bowl.
Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. I use the paddle attachment on my Kitchen Aid for this step.
When all ingredients are mixed and the flour is no longer visible, switch to the dough hook and turn on low for 2 minutes.
Scrape down sides of bowl and spray sides of bowl lightly with cooking oil.
Cover the bowl and place in a warm place for about 1 hour.
Prepare the filling by mixing all of the filling ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
Flour a clean surface and remove the dough from the bowl onto the floured surface.
Roll the dough out into approximately a 12x20 inch rectangle. You may need to add flour to the dough if it is too sticky. Just sprinkle on and fold into dough.
Spread the filling onto the dough. With a knife, cut the dough lengthwise into three ling strips, approximately 4 inches each. You should have 3 strips of dough 4x20 inches when finished.
Take each strip and pinch the dough together so the filling stays inside of the dough strip (see photos on post). At this point, you should have three long ropes of filled dough. Place each of the strips of dough onto a jelly roll pan that has been lightly greased or lined with parchment paper.
Start with one end and begin to braid the bread, tuck the ends under.
Brush with one beaten egg. If you don't have a pastry brush, use your hands to lightly coat the dough with the egg wash.
Let rise in a draft free place for about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and set the rack in the center of the oven.
When braid has risen for 45 minutes, place in oven and let cook for about 35 minutes. The dough should be golden when done.
Remove from oven and let cool at least 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
- You may use 4 cups of all purpose flour if you don't have bread flour. The bread flour simply helps support the filling and creates a chewier texture.
- This bread may be made one day in advance of serving.
- The filling ingredients may be made early and refrigerated. Let come to room temperature before filling the dough.